Published Wednesday, 21 December 2011
After a defeat against Linfield in his opening game as player-manager, it was the perfect response from Gary Hamilton's team, as two goals from Kyle Neill helped the Lurgan Blues to a 3-2 win against Crusaders at Mourneview Park.
Glenavon's fourth home win of the season takes them three points clear of bottom club Lisburn Distillery, who will themselves be pleased with Tuesday night's work.
They held the league leaders Linfield to a 1-1 draw at Windsor Park, in a first draw of the season for David Jeffrey's side in 22 league games.
A Mark Cooling penalty for the Whites after 14 minutes opened the scoring, but Peter Thompson came to Linfield's rescue with a close range finish in the second-half to equalise and mark an unexpected early return to first team action.
Thompson has missed much of the campaign through illness, and had been due to feature in a reserve team fixture until it was cancelled in the afternoon.
As Linfield dropped points, second-place Portadown failed to capitalise; themselves only managing one point from their 2-2 draw away to Carrick Rangers.
Michael Hughes, acting as caretaker-manager of Carrick, watched Anthony Lagan's last minute goal salvage a 2-2 draw against Portadown, who looked like they would take all three points after Matty Tipton's goal gave them the lead fifteen minutes from the end.
Glentoran also struggled to close the gap at the top, as they drew 1-1 away to Coleraine.
The Bannsiders struck first through in-form striker Curtis Allen, but David Howland was on hand to score for the Glens after goalkeeper Gavin Cullen parried a long-range effort from Richard Clarke.
The result keeps Glentoran three points behind Coleraine and 17 points off top spot, although they do hold a game in hand.
There was late drama at Stangmore Park where Gary McCutcheon's 88th minute goal appeared to give Ballymena United a much needed win in the wake of Roy Walker's resignation as manager last week.
However, Dungannon Swifts, now managed by Rodney McAree after Dixie Robinson's exit, scored in injury time through substitute Conor Forker to make it 1-1, and secure a vital point in the race to avoid the drop.
Carling Premiership results in full:
Wednesday 21 December:
Donegal Celtic 1 - 3 Cliftonville
DC: Mark Burns 77
Cliftonville: Stephen Garrett 12, Chris Scannell 33, Ciaran Donaghy 41
Tuesday 20 December:
Carrick Rangers 2 - 2 Portadown
Carrick Rangers: Paul Owens 36, Anthony Lagan 90
Portadown: Kevin Braniff 8, Matt Tipton 75
Coleraine 1 - 1 Glentoran
Coleraine: Curtis Allen 49
Glentoran: David Howland 66
Dungannon Swifts 1 - 1 Ballymena United
Dungannon Swifts: Conor Forker 91
Ballymena: Gary McCutcheon 88
Glenavon 3 - 2 Crusaders
Glenavon: Kyle Neill 15, Diarmuid O'Carroll 26, Kyle Neill 48
Crusaders: Ciaran Gargan 24, Colin Coates 57 (penalty)
Linfield 1 - 1 Lisburn Distillery
Linfield: Peter Thompson 65
Lisburn Distillery: Mark Cooling 14 (penalty)
© UTV News