Kyle Owens and Eoin Wearen contest a header (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)
Friday, 22 February 2019
Crusaders and Glenavon battled to a Friday night draw in front of the live TV cameras at Seaview.
With the swirling wind playing its part in proceedings it took both sets of players a little time to settle into the game.
Ronan Hale had the first effort of note on 11 minutes but his effort from just inside the area was well beaten away by Johnny Tuffey.
At the other end Crues keeper Sean O'Neill was forced to gather a James Singleton effort at the second attempt after Conor McCloskey had delivered a corner to the back post.
The deadlock might have been broken midway through the first half. A Kyle Owens header was deflected away for a corner by Caolan Marron with the subsequent set piece coming to Rory Hale who shot just inches wide.
For Glenavon, Andrew Mitchell turned on a Josh Daniels ball into the box with O'Neill making the save just as McCloskey closed in while another Mitchell effort was blocked by Rory Hale a few minutes after that.
However, it fell to Crusaders to hold the advantage at the break when, on 43 minutes, David Cushley opened the scoring with a well executed low 25-yard drive past Tuffey from the middle of the park after he had received a pass from Matthew Snoddy.
Seeking the equaliser after the break, Glenavon came close when Daniels just failed to get a strong enough touch to a Mitchell free-kick followed swiftly by another Mitchell attempt straight at O'Neill at the far post.
Mitchell came even closer on 68 minutes with a stinging effort off an upright after O'Neill had pushed out Rhys Marshall's initial shot.
But, not long after that, Cushley almost doubled Crusaders' lead with a powerful effort from inside the area which Tuffey did well to tip over.
In the end the points were shared when, with 12 minutes left, Wearen delivered the ball over from the right side of the area for Daniels to connect and beat O'Neill with a fantastic half-volley finish.
It was no less than Glenavon deserved and, indeed, they had a late opportunity to snatch victory over for Seamus Sharkey to flash an effort wide.
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Lowry, Cushley, Owens, Ruddy, Snoddy, McGinley, Rn. Hale, Rr. Hale subs G. Doherty (not used), McChrystal (not used), Beverland (not used), Ward (not used), Thompson (replaced McGinley 65), Clarke (not used), Patterson (replaced Rr. Hale 85)
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marron, Daniels, Marshall, Mitchell, Harmon, McCloskey, Singleton, Garrett, Wearen, Sharkey subs Larmour (not used), Norton (replaced Wearen 85), Murray (not used), Jenkins (not used), Stewart (replaced Harmon 69), Jameson (not used), Hamilton (replaced Mitchell 90+1)
Referee: Tony Clarke
|Billy Joe Burns|
|Michael Ruddy||90 +2|
|Andrew Mitchell||69||90 +1|
|Gary Hamilton||90 +1|