Glentoran's unbeaten start to the season came to an end at Mourneview Park this evening and that result saw the East Belfast side lose their spot at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
There were three changes to the starting line up following Saturday's victory over Dungannon Swifts at the Bet McLean Oval. Danny Purkis came in for Jay Donnelly, James Singleton for Marcus Kane and Bobby Burns started in place of Terry Devlin.
In a hard fought first half chances were few and far between. Early on good link up play between Hrvoje Plum, Rhys Marshall and Bobby Burns almost created an opening but Burns' cross was turned behind for a corner. On 10 minutes a decent cross into the area from Shay McCartan was headed over by Rory Donnelly. Just before the mid-point of the first half Rory Donnelly had another opportunity when a corner from Hrvoje Plum on the left found the glentoran number 10 at the back post but his header deflected off a defender and over the crossbar.
On 28 minutes Hrvoje Plum put a great free kick into the Glenavon 6-yard box. The ball was eventually forced over the goal line but the lineman's flag ruled it out for an apparent offside. Six minutes from the break Bobby Burns played the ball into Conor McMenamin in the area. McMenamin then seemed to be taken down and the visiting fans joined the Glentoran players in calling for a penalty. The BBC reporter also saw it as a spot kick but referee Boyce gave the free kick to the home side, supposedly for a foul by McMenamin on Calum Birney!
As we moved into first half added time a great forward ball from Rhys Marshall almost put Conor McMenamin in but Sean Ward deflected it behind for a corner. McMenamin swung the corner in from the right and Aidan Wilson rose above above Daniel Wallace to power a header past Rory Brown.
Halftime: Glenavon 0-1 Glentoran
On 53 minutes it should have been 2-nil. A superb cross into the area from Conor McMenamin was met by the head of Danny Purkis but Rory Brown made an excellent save to keep the ball out. Purkis had been causing the home defence all sorts of problems with his strength and pace but he was replaced by Jay Donnelly just before the hour mark. In what was a double substitution, Hrvoje Plum also made way for Terry Devlin. Three minutes later there was a half chance for Glenavon but they were denied by an excellent block by James Singleton.
Glenavon substitute Doyle was then lucky to only receive a yellow card from referee Boyce following a shockingly late tackle on James Singleton! A minute later, the home side drew level. A poor clearance from Rory Donnelly went straight to a Glenavon player and his deep cross was headed in at the back post by Michael Glynn. Just 5 minutes later it was 2-1 to the home side as once again the Glens failed to clear their lines and although Aaron McCarey made a decent save from Michael Glynn's shot, Aaron Prendergast was quickest to react and fire Glenavon in front.
Shay McCartan might have levelled things up again on 77 minutes when he latched on to a cross from Rhys Marshall but his shot went just wide of the post. With 10 minutes remaining Marshall created another opportunity for Conor McMenamin. His shot was blocked with the ball eventually falling to Ally Roy. His cross shot was well handled by Rory Brown though and the home side saw out the remaining minutes quite comfortably.
Photographs by PACEMAKER
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Singleton (Kane82), McClean (c), Wilson, Plum (Devlin 59), Burns, McCartan, R. Donnelly (Roy 76), Purkis (J. Donnelly 59) & McMenamin