Braniff gives Glenavon vital win
It is another huge three points for the Lurgan Blues in the race to finish in third place.
Kevin Braniff scored what proved the all important winner in the second half, but the win was secured thanks to a late penalty save by man of the match Johnny Tuffey.
Glenavon also had to play out the latter stages with just ten men after Kris Lindsay was sent off after picking up a second yellow when conceding the penalty.
Glenavon coped well with a couple of early raids and began to mount some pressure of their own with Mark Patton on the left flank involved in a couple of promising attacks.
Kevin Braniff got in behind the home defence to deliver a fine cross but in a packed goalmouth the ball flew past everyone. Then from a Patton corner the ball was cleared into the path of Andy Hall and his low drive was blocked.
From a Coleraine free kick the ball there was a moment of panic in the Glenavon defence as the ball rolled out to Higgins whose shot took a deflection past Johnny Tuffey’s left hand post.
The flag stayed down as Ian Parkhill got a yard on the Glenavon defence, but Simon Kelly did well to get back to block his run on goal.
On 26 minutes Glenavon had a great chance to open their account when Patton kept the ball alive and his cross was met first time by Fabio but keeper Chris Johns made a fine reflex save.
Nine minutes from the break Glenavon did have the ball in the net when a neat turn from Braniff saw him float the ball into the box, Fabio went up and the keeper seemed to fumble the ball, it fell to Conor Dillon who poked it into the empty net but referee Raymond Heatherington ruled it out for a foul on the keeper.
After a slow start to the second half Colerine’s Rodney Brown glanced a header onto the bar, a lucky escape for the Lurgan Blues.
The best move of the game so far came on 54 minutes as Coleraine carved out a chance with Ian Parkhill setting up Darren McCauley and his well struck shot flew inches wide.
Coleraine were getting on top at this stage but then a lovely back heel pass from Fabio set up Patton but his run was ended by David Ogilby who picked up a yellow card. Hall floated in the free kick, it hit off a defender but was won back by Dillon who got a second chance to get in the cross, the ball was flicked on and Braniff nipped in to nod home on 61 minutes.
With 12 minutes to go Fabio made way for Gary Hamilton who set up the next chance with a ball down the line to Dillon, he spotted Braniff just outside the box whose shot was blocked.
Then drama on 84 minutes with Coleraine winning a penalty for a hand ball given against Lindsay. He was given a second yellow and departed as James McLaughlin stepped up to take the penalty. Tuffey produced a superb save diving to his right to punch the ball away.
That lead was protected on 63 minutes thanks to a brilliant save by Tuffey as he kept out a shot from McCauley.
Glenavon held on for a big win and now move on to the Irish Cup semi-final against Crusaders next Friday night.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Marshall, Kelly, Lindsay, McGrory, Patton, Dillon, Martyn, Hall, Braniff, Fabio.
Subs: Hamilton, Ferguson, Delaney, Burns, Elebert.