A Johnny Kernaghan brace and Jeff Brady strike ensured Loughgall successfully booked their place in the semi-final of the Bob Radcliffe Cup where they will face Banbridge Town. The win also secured the Villagers’ second clean sheet of the season which was aided by Gareth Buchanan’s second-half penalty save.
Boss Colin Malone made a single change from last week’s poor result at Limavady with Scott Herron coming in for his first start of the season at the expense of Dean Heasley.
The hosts started the brightest and forced a couple of opportunities before they opened the scoring. Firstly, on 19 minutes, Wesley Boyle slipped a smart pass into Dale Malone’s path and the attacker fired wide across goal from the right-hand side of the penalty area. Two minutes later Herron’s forward ball found it’s way through to Malone who, with space inside the area, somehow managed to elevate his shot over the crossbar when it seemed easier to score.
Glenavon Reserves threatened on 25 minutes when Rodgers’ 25-yard free-kick was pushed past the post by ‘keeper Buchanan. And from the resultant corner Lindsay managed to head against the crossbar before the ball was cleared to safety.
Loughgall broke the deadlock in the 27th minute when Kernaghan and Brady combined for the latter to finish impressively from the edge of the penalty area. The Villagers’ advantage was doubled on 34 minutes when Kernaghan, who initiated the attack, directed his close-range header into the corner of the net after Brady saw his effort well blocked.
The Lurgan Blues had a great opportunity to pull a goal back on 57 minutes when ‘keeper Buchanan fouled Bradley inside the penalty area; Munce stepped up and was denied by Buchanan’s brilliant diving save.
Neither side created any further clear-cut chances until a Loughgall counter-attack, with two minutes remaining, released Malone who cut inside onto his right foot and struck the upright with a fierce shot.
In injury time Kernaghan netted his second when he raced onto Malone’s through-ball before rounding goalkeeper Davy O’Hare and side-footing home.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Carson, Rodgers, Stewart (Emerson 77m), Acheson, Ferguson (Willis 84m), Malone, Herron, Kernaghan, Boyle (Pedlow 77m), Brady. Unused subs: Heasley, Phillips.
Glenavon Res: O’Hare, Andrews, Dane, Turkington, Corrigan, Rodgers, Lindsay (Long 30m), Munce, Bennett (McNally 54m), Wells, Bradley.