Late Mark Patton strike gives Glenavon Euro hope

Glenavon's James Singleton battles with Shakhtyor Soligorsk's Mikalai Yanush
Glenavon's James Singleton battles with Shakhtyor Soligorsk's Mikalai Yanush

Mark Patton’s goal four minutes from time has given Glenavon a very slim chance of progression against Shakhtyor.

It was a nightmare start for the hosts as the Belarusians went ahead after two minutes through Mikhail Afanasiev.

He had an empty net to score into after Mikalai Yanush picked up on a poor clearance by James McGrath. His shot was blocked by the goalkeeper but fell kindly for the striker to put away.

Glenavon had their chances in the first half but couldn’t get a shot on target. Rhys Marshall possibly could have done better from four yards out when an Andy Hall free kick was headed down by Simon Kelly for the right back to shoot but he couldn’t get enough behind his sidefooted shot.

Conor Dillon also headed wide from another Hall set piece as Glenavon tried to get back into the game.

But then individual errors started to creep into the Lurgan side’s game and they were punished on the hour mark when Ciaran Martyn’s attempted back pass to James McGrath was too short and was picked up by Dimitri Kamarouski 40 yards from goal. He bore down on McGrath and, with a low drive, scored with relative ease.

The same player could have added a second just before the interval, capitalising on an Andy Kilmartin error in the box, but hit the near post.

The locals sought to make amends right away after the restart and Eoin Bradley came close to pulling a goal back on 48 minutes.

He beat the offside trap to get onto a long ball, lured goalkeeper Bushma out of his goal in doing so and tried an audacious lob, which was cleared off the line by Rybak.

Shakhtor could have put the game to bed seconds later, McGrath denied Mikoliunas before the follow up from Yanush was deflected wide for a corner. Martyn should have brought Glenavon back into the tie in 67 minutes, when a ball into the box fell right in front of the midfielder when he was inside the six yard box, but somehow he ended up tripping over the ball.

Kevin Braniff tried his luck with a free kick from 25 yards. He curled it over the wall but the goalkeeper managed to get two hands to it to palm it away.

Glenavon got their glimmer of hope on 86 minutes when Bushma once again rushed out to meet Bradley and once again got caught out.

The forward delivered a cross which escaped substitute Gary Hamilton but Mark Patton was at the back post to score.