Robert Garrett’s slice of good fortune seals gritty Glenavon win over Linfield

Robert Garrett's deflected shot secured victory for Glenavon over Linfield. Pic by Pacemaker.
Robert Garrett's deflected shot secured victory for Glenavon over Linfield. Pic by Pacemaker.
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Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon grabbed a large slice of revenge following Danske Bank Premiership delight over Linfield at Mourneview Park.

Against all the odds - given the home side’s struggling form - the Lurgan Blues produced their best performance of the season to edge three crucial league points.

Robert Garrett hit the sole goal that floored his former employers – it was his first of the season and a vital strike.

And the celebrations at the finish said it all because the last time the teams met, David Healy’s team cruised to a thumping seven-goal victory.

It’s a result that could well kick-start Glenavon’s season – they are now up to ninth in the table. They played with passion, determination and commitment, with no shortage of skill either.

Shayne Lavery should have had the Blues in front after only five minutes. The Northern Ireland international tricked and teased his way past Caolan Marron and Andrew Doyle, but he could only blast his shot wide of the target.

Glenavon responded, with Josh Daniels testing Linfield’s Rohan Ferguson with a teasing, curling shot that had the goalkeeper at full stretch.

Both teams were certainly not holding back. Glenavon had a let-off on 15 minutes when Kirk Millar’s corner-kick found the head of Mark Stafford, but shot-stopper Jonny Tuffey managed to beat away the defender’s thumping effort

Linfield had a penalty shout turned away by referee Andrew Davey when Cooper appeared to be hauled down by Aaron Harmon – the Bangor official wasn’t interested.

But it was Blues boss Healy that was blowing a sight of relief on 21 minutes when Garrett’s low drive was brilliantly beaten away by Ferguson, but Hamilton quickly gobbled up the rebound only to see in-form keeper produce another wonder save.

The home fans were celebrating five minutes later following Garrett’s fortunate effort. He picked up a pass from Andrew Mitchell and, even though his shot appeared to lack venom, it deflected off the boot of Stafford, and the ball finished up in the corner of the net.

Incredibly, the Blues missed an absolute sitter second later. Matthew Clarke’s corner-kick was headed on by Bastien Hery and, from only two yards, Lavery somehow guided his header over the top.

Linfield roared out from the traps and were almost level on 48 minutes. Clarke’s corner was met by Jimmy Callacher, but his downward header was brilliantly pawed to safety by Tuffey.

But the visitors had to rely on the reflexes of Ferguson to keep them in the game – and on both occasions he thwarted the threat of Mitchell.

He got down to save a low shot from the big striker after a cute touch from Daniels and then, minutes later, he brilliantly beat away a stinging drive after Mitchell was put through by James Singleton’s raking pass.

Then, it was the turn of Tuffey to show his class at the other end, getting down smartly to beat away a blistering 20-yard drive from Hery.

Glenavon were almost out of sight 17 minutes form time when Daniels left Chris Casement in his wake, but again Ferguson was equal to his low shot.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marron, Doyle, Daniels, Marshall, Mitchell (Murray, 80), Harmon, Beggs (McCloskey, 77), Singleton, Garrett, Hamilton (Wearen, 72).

Subs (not used): Taylor, Burns, Hunter, Jenkins.

LINFIELD: Ferguson, Casement, Stafford (Waterworth, 46), Callacher, Clarke, Mulgrew, Fallon, Millar Hery (Reynolds, 77), Cooper, Lavery.

Subs (not used): Moore, Robinson, McGivern, Mitchell, Shevlin.

REFEREE: Andrew Davey.