IRISH LEAGUE: Late goals in each half help Glenavon ease past Carrick
Goals in the closing stages of each half provided Glenavon with a well-earned 2-0 victory over Carrick Rangers as Andy Hall and Sammy Clingan found the net.
Early Glenavon pressure included five corner-kicks in a short period but strong winds restricted the sights of goals - with a Josh Daniels flick eventually drifting wide.
In-form forward Andrew Mitchell managed to poke the ball goalwards off Bobby Burns’ touch but Carrick goalkeeper Harry Doherty blocked the effort.
Carrick’s sole significant first-half sight of goal arrived on 27 minutes when Lee Chapman fed Martin Maybin but Jonny Tuffey proved alert to stop the low angled drive.
Burns was then left frustrated by the outside of the upright when his snapshot from the edge of the area came close to breaking the deadlock.
Tuffey was at the centre of the action by showing quick feet to clear a backpass despite Carrick pressure.
Glenavon had two penalty appeals waved away but entered the break full of cheer thanks to Hall’s finish with the final kick of the first half.
Clingan’s delivery from around the halfway line dropped towards the post and Hall managed to meet it on the run and hand Glenavon control.
Carrick had Maybin’s determination to thank for the first scoring opportunity of the second half when he battled to force a Glenavon error.
Maybin’s cutback was steered towards the target by Eamon McAllister but Clingan stepped in to block.
Glenavon had to cope with added pressure due to the weather conditions as Carrick attempted to find an equaliser with balls into the danger area.
A Glenavon break led to Mitchell racing down the left with players in support but his low drive was collected by Doherty.
The Carrick goalkeeper was tested soon after off a dipping effort on the turn by Burns and Doherty proved alert again to push out James Singleton’s close-range effort.
A Glenavon free-kick forced Doherty into another fine save when Hall’s low effort around the outside of the wall had to be smothered at the base of the post.
The scoreline took on a more accurate reflection of the gap between the sides when McAllister’s foul on Burns led to a penalty and Clingan made no mistake on 90 minutes.
CARRICK RANGERS: Doherty, Smyth, Edgar, Gage, Chapman, Taggart, Maybin, Suarez (Green, 61), McAllister, Clarke (Morrow, 67), Roy (Mooney, 59).
Subs (not used): Rice, Smith.
GLENAVON: Tuffey, Burns, Kelly (Lindsay, 92), Doyle, Daniels (Hamilton, 78), Marshall, Mitchell, Hall, Sykes, Clingan, Singleton.
Subs (not used): Griffin, Patton, McGrory.
Referee: Steven Gregg.