GLENAVON 3 LINFIELD 2
Glenavon secured a third win on the bounce after a hard-earned win over Linfield at Windsor Park.
Both sides made changes before kick-off with Linfield dropping Guy Bates to the bench for his return to Mourneview Park, while there was no place for Niall Quinn. In came Aaron Burns and Paul Smyth.
For Glenavon both Kyle Neill and Kyle Buckley were missing, so Rhys Marshall moved to left back with Conor Dillon filling in on the right side of the defence.
Daniel Kearns and Eoin Bradley linked well in the early stages for the hosts and crafted an effort for the latter inside the first minute, but his shot lacked conviction.
However, they had more success after seven minutes when Glenavon took the lead. The two forwards played a one-two, with Kearns working his way into the box to curl a shot past Ross Glendenning.
Matthew Clarke curled a free kick over the bar at the other end, before Jonathan Tuffey was at his best to deny Andrew Waterworth after he was slipped through on goal by Burns.
Linfield pulled level on 17 minutes with a special strike from Jamie Mulgrew. He caught Joel Cooper in possession, composed himself and took aim with a dipping shot from 25 yards which nestled in the bottom left hand corner of Tuffey’s goal.
Glenavon almost sneaked a half time lead when Kearns, Bradley and Cooper linked well down the left wing. Cooper’s cross was scrambled away from inside the six yard box by Jimmy Callacher just as Bradley was closing in for a shot.
Then Glendenning pulled off a remarkable double save to deny both Cooper and Mark Sykes.
Linfield got of the blocks early after the restart as Paul Smyth forced Tuffey into a save with his feet from close range.
But it was Glenavon who retook the lead four minutes into the second half with a goal which had a little bit of fortune about it. Cooper put a cross into the box from the right and aimed it towards Bradley, but the striker cleverly stepped out of the road and allowed the cross to sneak past Glendenning.
Ninety seconds later the scores were level again when Mulgrew slipped Kirk Millar through on goal to finish past the on rushing Tuffey.
Glenavon enjoyed another spell of good play thereafter, the best of the chances coming when Sykes found Kearns on the edge of the box, but the former Carlisle United man got under the ball and scooped his shot over the bar.
The hosts were back in front for the third time with 15 minutes to go when the visitors conceded a free kick for handball 20 yards from goal. Andy Hall fired the cross into the box, it came back off the post and Cooper raced in to make sure.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Sykes, Kearns. Subs: McKeown, Patton, McGrory, O’Brien, Hamilton (Bradley 71).
Linfield: Ross Glendenning, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Millar, Burns, Ward, Clarke, Kee, Mulgrew, Smyth. Subs: Stafford, Bates (Kee 77), Reece Glendenning, Salley (Haughey 83), Deane.