CLIFTONVILLE 1 GLENAVON 1
Declan O’Brien pounced to ensure Glenavon came away with a deserved point from a game they came close to losing to Cliftonville.
The Reds soaked up streams of pressure before pulling ahead through Chris Curran only for the Lurgan Blues to hit back when sub O’Brien found the net with just over 20 minutes to play.
It was the visitors who started more brightly and, while their enterprising football failed to yield any sort of a breakthrough, they did almost find the net in fortuitous circumstances when Andy Hall’s halfway-line free-kick soared over Reds keeper Peter Burke and rocked the crossbar.
Cliftonville’s only real chance of the opening half was a Jay Donnelly header that flashed across the face of goal, while Glenavon – who lost Kevin Braniff to injury before the half-hour mark – almost pulled ahead on the stroke of half-time only for Kris Lindsay to nod over the top.
Curran should have put the hosts in front on 49 minutes only to volley wildly wide from Davy McDaid’s cross but the winger made no mistake shortly afterwards; calmly slotting into the bottom corner after touching his way past Simon Kelly.
Jonathan Tuffey’s save from a deflected McDaid effort proved crucial because it wasn’t long before Glenavon equalised when the lively Joel Cooper picked out O’Brien with a cross that was simply crying out to be converted.
CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Ives, Flynn, Knowles, Curran, McDaid, Garrett, Smyth, Catney, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: McGovern (for Smyth, 87 mins), McMullan, C Murray (for McDaid, 72 mins), M Murray, George (for Garrett, 81 mins).
GLENAVON: Tuffey, Neill, Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Marshall, Hall, Patton, Sykes, Braniff, Kearns. Subs: McKeown, Cooper (for Patton, 65 mins), McGrory (for Kearns, 88 mins), Buckley, O’Brien (for Braniff, 29 mins).
REFEREE: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)