Reds on the warpath as they see off Lurgan Blues in style

Cliftonville's Joe Gormley
Cliftonville's Joe Gormley

IT was goals galore at Mourneview Park as Cliftonville stretched their unbeaten run to a lucky 13.

Glenavon will rue the time and space they allowed their opponents, who showed their championship credentials against the last side to beat them.

The first opportunity fell to Shane McCabe whose half volley went narrowly wide after the former Fermanagh gaelic star was laid off by Ciaran Marty.

And the hosts had an appeal for a penalty turned down after McCabe was felled on the edge of the box by Martin Murray, however referee Mervyn Smyth waved play on.

The Reds, however, were to take the lead on eight minutes when a long kick-out by Conor Devlin fell nicely for Barry Johnston.

The midfielder slotted the ball through for the deadly Joe Gormley to finish.

Gormley and Johnston were to combine once again two minutes later for Cliftonville’s second.

This time the former Glenavon midfielder headed the ball down for the striker to slot the ball under Andy Coleman.

The luck seemed to be with Cliftonville, who were allowed too much time and space on the ball.

That said, Devlin was fortunate to see his save from Martyn’s half volley go for a corner kick as it skewed off his body and headed for goal.

Glenavon pushed for a way back into the game and got their reward on 30 minutes. Martyn headed on a cross for Andy McGrory, who composed himself and scored.

The same player could have had a second just before the break, once again juggling a Martyn flick-on but while he did well to get a shot away his effort lacked any real power.

The Lurgan men finally got back on level terms on 59 minutes in spectacular style.

McGrory found Gareth McKeown down the right hand side. The defender played the ball inside to McCabe, who dinked the ball forward for Martyn to lob Devlin.

Cliftonville were not going to sit on their hands and should have scored only for the heroics of Coleman, who denied both Gormley and Eamon Seydak before Martin Murray was denied by a defender on the line,

Murray was not to be denied, though, and put the Reds in front with the simplest of tap-ins from Gormley’s low cross.

The points were sealed through Ryan Catney who scored after Boyce broke down the right, passed to Curran who played the ball back for the Solitude veteran, who picked his spot before tucking the ball away.

And there was still time for substitute Ciaran Doherty, himself a former Glenavon favourite, to add to the home fans’ misery a he scored a volley a minute from the end.

The result means the Reds keep the heat on leaders Linfield and they are gathering up a head of steam as the title race picks-up pace.

GLENAVON: Coleman, Neill, Murphy, McKeown, Marshall, Patton, McGrory, McCabe, Martyn, Hamilton, Rainey. subs: McCallion (McKeown 78), Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bates (Rainey 70), McIlveen (Hamilton 88).

GOALS: McGrory 30, Martyn 59

BOOKINGS: Neill 70, Murphy 90

CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Scannell, Johnston, Donnelly, Seydak, Smyth, Catney, Gormley, Murray, Boyce. Subs: McMullan (Boyce 87), O’Carroll, Curran (Donnelly 68), Cosgrove, Doherty (Murray 73).

GOALS: Gormley 8, 10; Murray 67; Catney 85; Doherty 89

BOOKINGS: Johnston 66, McGovern 90.

REFEREE: Mervyn Smyth