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Saturday 15th December v. Institute (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Tuesday, 3rd Jan, 2017 at 23:16

Date: Tuesday, 3rd January, 2017; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1060;
Ballymena United [3] [3]
Glenavon [1] [4]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Arnold Hunter; Assistant 1: David Anderson; Assistant 2: Jarlath McElholm; 4th Official: Declan Hassan;
[0-1] MOORHOUSE, Greg (1 mins), [1-1] McCAFFREY, Fra (9 mins), [2-1] McCAFFREY, Fra (20 mins), [3-1] GAGE, Denver (45 mins), [3-2] MARTYN, Ciaran (47 mins), [3-3] MOORHOUSE, Greg (61 mins), [3-4] MOORHOUSE, Greg (77 mins)

BALLYMENA United threw away a two goal lead as they lost 4-3 to Glenavon in the first game of the New Year.
The first half got off to a frantic start as the visitors took the lead with less than a minute on the clock. A cross from James Singleton found Greg Moorhouse who jumped highest to head home past Ross Glendinning, who couldn't get a strong enough hand on the ball to keep it out. United almost hit back instantly as Neil Lowry crossed to the head of Francis McCaffrey, but his effort went over the bar.
On 9 minutes, McCaffrey did give Ballymena an equaliser. Tony Kane played a corner short to Lowry, whose cross was flicked home beautifully by McCaffrey at the near post.
Fra McCaffrey equalised in the 9th minute
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The half continued with end to end action with both sides happy to play an open game. Glenavon could've regained the lead through Mark Patton, but Glendinning did well to come out and block his attempt. It was then United's turn to go close. A long kick from Glendinning was poorly dealt with by David Elebert and the ball fell kindly for Lowry who should've scored, but instead flashed his shot wide.
Ballymena did go ahead in the 20th minute when McCaffrey netted his second of the game. A quick free kick eventually made its way to Cathair Friel who did well to get a ball into the box, and it was again met at the near post by McCaffrey who scored his fifth league goal of the season.
McCaffrey's 2nd goal put United ahead
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Ballymena were forced into an early sub on 25 minutes with the injured Lowry being replaced by Johnny McMurray. McMurray's strike partner Friel almost made it three on 36 minutes when he was played in by an inch perfect Leroy Millar ball, but Jonathan Tuffey was on hand to stop his effort. 2 minutes later, McMurray fashioned a cross which came off Glenavon's Kris Lindsay and onto his own post, before fortunately going out for a corner.
Ballymena grabbed their third in a busy first half in added time. Leroy Millar delivered a perfect free kick and Denver Gage got his head on the end of it to power the ball past Tuffey as United ended a great half on a high.
Denver Gage put United 3-1 up just before half-time
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Just like in the first half, Glenavon netted an early goal at the start of the second. Patton whipped in a deadly ball from the left and found Ciaran Martyn who placed the ball into the corner of the net with a low header.
Glenavon kicked on in a quest for the equaliser as United struggled to create. A Glenavon corner on the hour mark caused a scramble in the box that United eventually cleared and Friel couldn't quite manage a shooting opportunity straight down the other end. One minute later the away side did have a leveller as Moorhouse scored his second. The Sky Blue defence wasn't alert enough to the danger as Bates flicked the ball into the path of Moorhouse who calmly finished past Glendinning.
Moorhouse celebrates after levelling to take the score to 3-3
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Inside the final 20 minutes Ballymena finally created chances as Friel called Glenavon skipper Tuffey into two good saves. Firstly Friel did well to take a long ball down and fired at Tuffey who made the save, and then a counter attack from McCaffrey played in Friel again, but Tuffey again stopped him with an even better save. Those saves proved vital as on 77 minutes Glenavon completed a dramatic turnaround. Substitute Allan Jenkins poorly gave the ball away and it eventually came to Moorhouse who beat Glendinning to the ball to slot home his hat trick goal and Glenavon's fourth.
Moorhouse scored a hat trick which won the game
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3 minutes later United's brace scorer McCaffrey received a straight red for a poor challenge on Singleton. The tackle and sending off caused heated confrontations between players and management as Jim Ervin picked up a yellow card.
Fra McCaffrey's challenge on James Singleton seen him sent off by referee Arnold Hunter
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Ballymena's 10 men tried to find a late equaliser and went close as McMurray fizzed a free kick into a dangerous area but the ball narrowly alluded Friel. Then in added time a Kane volley from the edge of the box was well saved as Glenavon held out to get Ballymena's new year off to a bad start.
This Saturday sees the fifth round of the Tennent's Irish Cup with United hosting Cliftonville, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Denver Gage, Gavin Taggart ( Allan Jenkins 64), Cathair Friel ( 81), Danny Wallace, Neil Lowry ( Jonny McMurray 25), Jim Ervin ( 80), Leroy Millar ( 43 Willie Faulkner 76), Fra McCaffrey ( 80), Caolan Loughran.

Subs not used: Alan Blayney, Kyle Owens.