Glenavon within striking distance of fifth after victory over Institute

Glenavon's Ciaran Martyn
Glenavon's Ciaran Martyn

It might be stating the obvious, but Friday night’s result really does mean different things for Glenavon and Institute.

For the winners, Glenavon, it pushes them further away from seventh placed Coleraine and within touching distance of leapfrogging Glentoran into fifth.

But, for Institute, they are now on their own of the table thanks to Warrenpoint’s stunning victory and Dungannon Swifts’ last gasp win.

“You don’t want to be cut adrift at the bottom but we know that what we achieve this season,” said ’Stute captain Paddy McLaughlin.

“Our position in the league will be down to what we do. If other teams do us a favour that’s great but really it’s all down to us.”

The men from the Riverside battled hard on a bitterly cold night in Lurgan but in the end they were unable to stop a Glenavon team who have now won their last four games in all competitions.

“The boys are delighted with how hard we worked and the chances we created but at the end of the day it’s a defeat, which is hard to take after we played so well,” McLaughlin added.

“If we maintain the work rate we’ve shown and play that kind of football we’ll be OK.

“Our wing men were fantastic, every time they got the ball they caused Glenavon a lot of trouble. It was just unfortunate we couldn’t capitalise on a couple of the chances we had in the second half.”

For Glenavon their momentum has been building over recent weeks, ever since they snatched a point on Boxing Day away to Portadown.

First Team Coach, Nigel Law, feels that game was the turning point after a run of six matches that had seen them fail to win.

“I think it was important for us because to score late on and to take the bare minimum of what we deserved from that game so it felt like a win,” he said.

“January has been a good month so far but this is a big week for us. We’ve targeted seven out of nine points so that’s three of them.

“We go to Coleraine on Tuesday night and hopefully we can capitalise on their slip-up against Dungannon. Warrenpoint have had a great moment too so we can’t take that game on Saturday for granted but if we can get four points from our next two games then we are right on course to do what we want to do and maybe jump a place to fifth.”

Gary Hamilton’s men were good value for their win on this occasion, according to their coach.

“Institute had a couple of chances to their credit, they have a good range of passing and they like to be fluid but they were vulnerable to the pattern of football that we wanted to play.

“Maybe with a bit more concentration in the final third we could have extended the lead and seen the game out more comfortably but any three points are a good three points, especially at this stage of the season and what we are fighting for.”

Glenavon got in front on 33 minutes when Eoin Bradley cleverly evaded a Kevin Braniff cross, allowing Ciaran Caldwell to stoop in and head home.

But after that Stute took the game to Glenavon in search of an equaliser, spearheaded by an attack led by Darren McFadden and Robbie Hume.

They got their rewards with virtually the last kick of the half, McFadden pulling the ball back for Hume to fire low under the Glenavon goalkeeper who will be disappointed not to have saved the shot.

However, the hosts bossed most of the second half. Ciaran Martyn scored what would prove to be the winner when a Winkie Murphy free kick was headed on by Kyle Neill for the big midfielder to nip in and slide the ball home.

GLENAVON: McGrath, Neill, Murphy, Lindsay, Bradley, Caldwell, Marshall, Braniff, McCabe, Martyn, Singleton. Subs: McKeown, Kelly, Patton (Neill 72), McGrory (Martyn 65), O’Brien (Bradley 88).

INSTITUTE: Deeney, D Curry, Bradley, McLoughlin, O’Donnell, Walsh, Forker, McManus, McFadden, S Curry, Hume. Subs: Gallagher, McCrudden (Forker 72),Young, Burke, McKeever.

REFEREE: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)