LOUGHGALL 6 GLENAVON 3
‘EMBARRASSING’ is one of many words Terry Cochrane used to describe Glenavon’s exit from the Mid Ulster Cup.
In one of the darkest days the football club has suffered on the pitch since their relegation to the First Division and the harrowing 6-1 defeat to Banbridge Town in the Bob Radcliffe Cup in 2004, this one has got to be up there as one of the worst.
For the second time this season Glenavon have exited a senior cup competition at the hands of intermediate opposition.
And with that comment no disrespect is meant to Loughgall – they thoroughly deserved their win – but it should serve as a reminder to Glenavon as to what they were up against on a cold Tuesday night at Lakeview Park.
While the Mid Ulster Cup was probably not up at the top of Cochrane’s list of priorities, this loss will be hard for the manager to take.
Glenavon started with the same back four who played against Larne the previous Saturday.
Tuda Murphy, away on international duty with the Cayman Islands, was replaced by debutant Paul Cairnduff who had joined from Bryansburn.
Glenavon took a third minute lead through Eamon Murray, who had started the game out wide on the right, when Marc Robinson in the Loughgall goal dropped Mark Turkington’s cross. This allowed Murray to nip in and finish with a low strike.
Robinson made amends in the 12th minute when he made saves to deny Trevor Molloy and youngster David Morris.
Loughgall immediately went on the attack and from Lukas Adamcyzk’s cross former Banbridge Town forward Ryan Moffatt was on hand to score from 12 yards.
Trevor Molloy almost reinstated Glenavon’s two goal advantage with a back post header which went over, but he was to play a major part in Glenavon’s second goal which came as he picked up Turkington’s throw in, beat two men and put a low cross in for Ciaran Donnelly to score his first Glenavon goal at the near post.
Glenavon did end the first half having had most of the possession and opportunities but the half ended on a downer for the visitors as Andrew Hageman was brought off at half time on a stretcher after falling awkwardly.
He was replaced by Adrian Harper, who moved into midfield, while Conor Walsh slotted into the back four.
The subsititute forced a great one handed save from Robinson on 50 minutes before Andy Brown saw his header come off the post and scrambled away by a panic-stricken defence.
Loughgall equalised through Darragh Peden when, from a corner, he headed home after losing his marker at the back post.
And they would take the lead from an almost identical situation, only this time Peden’s corner fell to Ritchie Allen to score from close range.
Referee Mark Courtney has been coming in for criticism recently and he will have done himself no favours within the Glenavon camp when he booked Trevor Molloy, who was limping off to the side of the pitch after suffering what appeared to be a hamstring injury, for timewasting.
Glenavon’s debutant ‘keeper was at fault for Loughgall’s fourth goal when he dropped a cross right in front of Brown who had the simplest of finishes to make.
And Cairnduff, who looked more nervous and unsettled as the game went on, was at fault again for the Lakeview Park side’s fifth goal when he rushed off his line, lost his position and left an empty net. Conor Walsh managed to block the Loughgall attacker’s initial shot but Ryan Moffatt rifled home to make it 5-2.
It was becoming all too easy for Loughgall but finally Glenavon started to create a few chances. Stephen McCain had a header cleared off the line and debutant Johnny McClurg, signed from Chimney Corner, had a shot well saved by Robinson.
Moffatt completed his hat trick, his first in senior club level football, with another free header as he connected with Brown's cross three minutes from time.
McCain added a third to Glenavon’s tally with a looping header over Robinson’s goal but it was too little, too late and not good enough by Glenavon.
LOUGHGALL: M Robinson, Waddell, Alderdice, Peden, Allen, Smith, Moffatt, Pentland, Adamckyz, Brown, N Robinson. Subs: Uprichard, Dickson, O’Neill (Pentland 85).
GLENAVON: Cairnduff, McAdam, Turkington, McKerr, Hageman, Donnelly, Murray, Walsh, Morris, Molloy, McCain. Subs: Harper (Hageman 46), Bracken (Morris 57), McClurg (Murray 64).