Irish Premiership: Quickfire double gives Glenavon comeback win over Glentoran

Robert Garrett struck a brilliant equaliser for Glenavon
Robert Garrett struck a brilliant equaliser for Glenavon

Glenavon scored two goals in the space of three second-half minutes to snatch a highly dramatic 2-1 win over Glentoran at Mourneview Park.

Rory Donnelly put the Glens ahead with a poacher's goal on 24 minutes to give the visitors the edge at the break.

Robert Garrett drew Glenavon level with an unstoppable strike on 70 before substitute Matthew Fitzpatrick fired the winner 17 minutes from time.

Glentoran lose ground on the top three after a second defeat in three games.

Glenavon stay in touch with the top six after beating the Glens at home for the first time since 2015 with Gary Hamilton's side five points behind Cliftonville, but with two games in hand.

Glentoran had the only chance of note during a cagey opening 20 minutes when Jay Donnelly was unable to steer the ball home from close range following Marcus Kane's cross.

But where his younger brother failed, Rory Donnelly succeeded as he opened the scoring in the 24th-minute, albeit in contentious fashion.

After making progress down the left flank, Conor McMenamin's initial cross was cut out by Sean Ward. However, McMenamin pounced on the loose ball and crossed for Donnelly, who converted from point-blank range.

However, during the build-up Glenavon full-back Calvin Douglas appeared to head the ball onto McMenamin's arm before the Glentoran forward's initial cross.

While the Glenavon players protested to referee Andrew Davey, the goal stood. All eyes were on Davey once more when Ciaran O'Connor went down under Andrew Doyle's challenge inside the Glenavon box, only for the referee to wave play on.

Later in the game, Glentoran were also furious when Michael O'Connor's challenge on Ciaran O'Connor went unpunished, with Glens coach Paul Millar labelling the tackle a "shocker" during his post-match interview.

Despite being unable to make much of an impression in the final third during the first two-thirds of the game, the Glenavon defence stood firm to keep Glentoran in their sights with Jay Donnelly cracking the crossbar with an effort from distance in the away side's only sight of goal within 20 minutes of the restart.

Donnelly came agonisingly close to doubling Glentoran's lead in the 68th-minute when he twisted and turned his way past the Glenavon defenders before dragging his shot just past Craig Hyland's left-hand post.

All of sudden, Glenavon were level with 20 minutes remaining as Garrett sent a thunderous right-footed shot into Rory Brown's top corner after impressive work down the left flank by Peter Campbell, who cut inside before teeing up the five-time Northern Ireland international.

With their tails up, Glenavon wasted little time in their search for a second as Fitzpatrick completed the comeback to spark ecstatic scenes in the home dugout.

It was a case of the substitutes combining from Conor McCloskey's cross as Gareth McCaffrey cushioned the ball into the path of Fitzpatrick, who rifled his shot beyond Rory Brown to seal a momentous win for the hosts.

The only consolation for Glentoran is the opportunity to exact swift revenge when the sides meet again at the Oval on Saturday.

'Tonight was about getting a result for Adrian' - Hamilton

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton dedicated the win to his 'second father', club chairman Adrian Teer, whose wife Mary Rose passed away on Sunday night.

"Tonight was all about the chairman, he lost his wife Mary Rose, and if ever there was a night when I wanted to win a game of football, it was tonight," said Hamilton.

"To put a smile on his face, I went straight up to him after the final whistle and you could see the smile and the happiness it brought him in this very sad time.

"Adrian is a club man, Mary Rose was down at the games all the time as well, and it's such a loss for him. They're great people, they're like a second family to me, the chairman's like a second father, he's there for me through good and bad.

"Tonight was about getting the result for Adrian and thankfully we were able to that, the boys have done him proud."