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Gary Hamilton's delight is obvious as Glenavon clinch the points (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/


GARY Hamilton clocked up the first victory of his managerial career from what turned out to be a gripping clash at Mourneview Park.

Glenavon might have taken an early lead when, on five minutes, Jonny Magee headed over from close range after a Mark Miskimmin flick from a Kyle Neill corner was cleared off the line.

But the Lurgan Blues did find a way through on 15 minutes with a Neill back post finish after Miskimmin had sent the ball across the face of goal.

Crusaders almost got back on level terms soon after, though, after Ciaran Gargan found himself clear
only to send a volley from barely five yards out against the crossbar.

Gargan made amends on 24 minutes, however, with a low side-footed finish after Stephen McBride delivered the ball from the left.

Hamilton's side regained the advantage on 26 minutes when Diarmuid O'Carroll looped a header over Sean O'Neill as both players attemoted to meet a Conor Hagan cross.

And almost straightaway at the other end Chris Morrow clipped the upright from a long range drive.

Then, moments before the break, Miskimmin came within a whisker of adding to Glenavon's advantage with a thundering effort destined for the top corner only for O'Neill to produce an equally as spectacular one-handed save to turn the ball away.

Neill extended Glenavon's lead three minutes into the second half with a smash into the corner after David Magowan failed to clear.

The Crues reduced the deficit again on 57 minutes through a clinically executed Colin Coates spot-kick after Jonny Magee was adjudged to have brought down Jordan Owens.

Neill then came close to grabbing his hat-trick when he poked the ball forward but he found O'Neill equal to the challenge on this occasion.

Crusaders were reduced to ten men on 81 minutes after Rainey was dismissed by referee Hugh Carvill for a second bookable offence.

Tags:  Crusaders  Glenavon