Holders Glenavon fight back to struggle past Moyola Park

.'Glenavon's Eoin Bradley'celebrates after scoring to make it 3-2
.'Glenavon's Eoin Bradley'celebrates after scoring to make it 3-2

MOYOLA PARK 2 GLENAVON 3

Holders Glenavon just about progressed to round six after being given quite a scare by Moyola Park.

The Castledawson outfit put in a hell of a first half display, going in 2-0 up at the break - and they were well worth their lead.

But the Lurgan Blues weren’t keen on relinquishing their title at such an early stage. Two goals from Kevin Braniff, one of which may well go down as an own goal, got them back on level terms before Eoin Bradley rode to the rescue just on full time.

Glenavon were left shells shocked as Moyola took a two-goal lead within the first half hour.

The holders fell behind when Robert Walls fired the hosts in front with a powerful strike which sneaked under Alan Blayney on 12 minutes.

It was a goal against the run of play as Glenavon had had much of the possession. That said, the best of their chances was a header by skipper Kris Lindsay from a Rhys Marshall cross.

Then, bang on half an hour, Moyola stunned Glenavon with a second. It was a great bit of route one football, coupled with a bit of luck as a clearance from the Moyola goalkeeper was headed in the wrong direction by Kris Lindsay. Chris Dowie capitalised and found the back of the net with his snapshot from the edge of the box.

Glenavon needed a goal back and Declan O’Brien headed off the post from Kevin Braniff’s cross.

O’Brien had another chance from a free kick which was deflected wide, while Eoin Bradley disappointed with a tame effort just before the interval.

Gary Hamilton opted for changes at the break, bringing himself and Shane McCabe on at the break - and they had an almost immediate impact.

Mark Sykes, who had been central to almost everything Glenavon had done so far, saw his shot blocked but Braniff was in the right place at the right time to ensure the Lurgan men were back in the tie.

Mark Patton, the hero in last year’s cup final, came close from a Sykes cross, heading over the bar, before Bradley shot over from a free kick.

The momentum was with Glenavon and they got back on level terms just after an hour had been played when a Hamilton’s corner was headed back by Braniff and went in with a deflection off a Moyola defender.

They could have had a third when Lindsay connected with another Hamilton corner but his effort was high and wide.

But as Glenavon committed men forward they were almost caught out when a crossfield pass found Walls. His low shot was gathered up by Blayney.

The holders ensured of their passage through - just - when Bradley headed in a corner by substitute Kyle Neill right on 90 minutes.

MOYOLA PARK: Farniok, McAllister, Stewart, McQuillan, Kelly, Muir, Lucas, Gallagher, Dowie, Larkin, Walls. Subs: Wilkinson, Kilpatrick, Taggart, Barron, Kenning.

Goals: Walls 14, Dowie 30

Bookings: Lucas 28, Larkin 41

GLENAVON: Blayney, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bradley, Patton, Sykes, Kelly, O’Brien, Marshall, Braniff, Singleton. SUBS: Neill (Patton 75), Murphy, Hamilton (Kilmartin 46), Caldwell, McCabe (Kelly 46).

Goals: Braniff 48, 62

Referee: John Deighon