Glenavon continue chase of Crusaders

STILL HAS IT: Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton came off the bench to score a crucial goal against Glentoran Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
By Padraig Kelly

Danske Bank Premiership: Crusaders v Glenavon (tonight, Seaview, 7.45pm, live on BBC2)

GLENAVON'S late show against Glentoran on Monday night came at an opportune time as they travel to Seaview this evening with the aim of hunting down third-placed Crusaders.

It looked like it would be a frustrating night for them at the Oval as they trailed to Darren Murray's penalty late on but manager Gary Hamilton entered the fray in the 76th minute and scored six minutes later with Conor McCloskey grabbing the winner two minutes from time.

That victory moved Glenavon to within six points of Stephen Baxter's side with a game in hand. Win tonight and they will have the opportunity to move above them when they host Cliftonville next Saturday as Crusaders are not back in action until March 9.

Hamilton has received a boost with the news that defender Rhys Marshall is set to make his return from injury but Andrew Mitchell is a doubt after picking up a knock against Glentoran.

Crusaders know that their slim Gibson Cup hopes will depend on almost flawless form from here until the end of the season.

January's loss to Linfield really damaged their hopes of closing the gap on the Blues and they are now nine points behind the league leaders having played an extra game.

Ahead of the game, they have announced that defender Sean Ward has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2020. He was part of the side that defeated Coleraine 4-2 last weekend.

Baxter's side took the lead in first-half injury time through Colin Coates while David Cushley was twice on target after the break. Ronan Hale grabbed their fourth goal in the 87th minute to secure the win.

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