GLENAVON 4 GLENTORAN 0
Glenavon celebrated the news that manager Gary Hamilton had signed a new three-year deal by putting four past Irish Cup finalists Glentoran.
In the process they have fired themselves right into contention for a European spot. Cliftonville come to Mourneview Park on Easter Tuesday and with three points separating the two teams for third place it promises to be an egg-citing tie.
Glenavon could have taken an early first half lead when a free kick from Kevin Braniff was aimed towards Kris Lindsay but the big defender couldn’t get a touch to turn it into the net.
The men from the Oval took charge from then on, Willie Garrett firing a free kick with plenty of pace over the bar.
A half volley from Jordan Stewart at the edge of the box was pushed away by James McGrath while Curtis Allen headed over from a corner kick.
But then, against the run of play, Glenavon got in front in controversial circumstances. Braniff swung in a corner kick, leading to a melee in the box. James Singleton’s back heel headed goalbound and was blocked by a number of Glentoran defenders on the line, but referee Arnold Hunter decided enough of the ball had crossed the line and awarded a goal.
Glentoran pushed for a leveller and Stewart might feel he should have done better when he fired wide on 37 minutes.
But their task was made a lot harder in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Andy McGrory started a move which saw Mark Patton charge down the left hand side and cut down. Referee Hunter let play continue and the ball broke free for Singleton to nip in and score a second.
Steven Gordon could have pulled one back shortly after the restart after a low pass from Garrett made its way to him on the edge of the box. The home defence could only watch as the effort went narrowly wide.
The Glens then had appeals for a penalty turned down when an Allen shot was blocked by Andy Kilmartin inside the box, but claims for handball were turned down.
Meanwhile Glenavon could have added a third only for bad luck when their own player to block a Ciaran Martyn shot. The chance fell to him after Eoin Bradley had done well to keep in a McGrory cross.
They did find a third after a quick break down the right hand side. Substitute Gary Hamilton touched it on for Martyn, his shot was pushed away by Morris, but Patton was in the right place at the right time to tap in.
And they made it four shortly afterwards when Hamilton set up McGrory, his shot was initially blocked but the winger managed to touch the ball past the Glentoran goalkeeper.
Glenavon: McGrath, Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bradley, Patton, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn, Singleton. Subs: Neill (Patton 80), Hamilton (Bradley 69), Caldwell, O’Brien (Braniff 80), Drylie.
Goals: Singleton 28, 45, Patton 76, McGrory 79
Bookings: Braniff 36, Bradley 59, Lindsay 70
Glentoran: Morris, Garrett, Kane, McCaffery, Birney, Scullion, Allen, Stewart, Henderson, Gordon, Holland. Subs: Addis (Holland 12), O’Hanlon (McCaffrey 76), McKee (Scullion 76), McCullough, Hogg.
Bookings: Gordon 39, Addis 89
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)