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Saturday 27th April v. Crusaders (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 21st Oct, 2017 at 19:53

Date: Saturday, 21st October, 2017; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1188;
Glenavon [4] [4]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: Mourneview Park; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Arnold Hunter; Assistant 1: David Anderson; Assistant 2: Adam Jeffrey; 4th Official: Mark Dillon;
[1-0] MITCHELL, Andrew (8 mins), [2-0] MITCHELL, Andrew (26 mins), [3-0] BURNS, Bobby (33 mins), [4-0] HALL, Andy (43 mins)

BALLYMENA United conceded 4 first half goals against Glenavon to fall to a heavy defeat at Mourneview Park.
United fell well off the pace in the first half as the home side completely dominated the opening 45 minutes. Glenavon went close in the opening 5 minutes when Mark Sykes wasn't penalised for a foul on Jim Ervin, but his from close range was saved by Conor Brennan. However on 8 minutes Brennan couldn't keep the ball out of his goal as Glenavon went in front. An error from Michael Gault saw him flick the ball into the path of Andrew Mitchell who rushed clear, and from a tight angle Mitchell's shot was spilled into the goal by Brennan.
The next chance again fell Glenavon's way. Sykes was allowed to roam past the Sky Blue defence and he played in Joshua Daniels. Despite many of the home fans thinking Daniel's shot had gone in, it had instead caught the side netting and went wide. On 24 minutes it was 2-0. A free kick from Jonathan Tuffey eventually made its way to Mitchell and on the edge of the box he was given all the time in the world to turn and finish neatly past Brennan.
Ballymena first really threatened Glenavon's goal when some good build up play and a nice one-two between Cathair Friel and Kevin Braniff saw Andrew Burns teed up, but his shot was blocked. Just after the half hour mark United went close again. Kyle Owens just couldn't connect with a corner and the second ball bypassed Friel before being taken off the feet of McKinney as he was about to shoot inside the 6 yard box. With 33 minutes gone Glenavon had their 3rd, courtesy of Bobby Burns. Gault was dispossessed in his own half by Burns who had time to break clear and pick a spot, nicely finishing across the goal into the bottom corner.
Two minutes later things continued to deteriorate for Ballymena as they were reduced to 10 men. Owens received a straight red card for a foul on Daniels in the middle of the park. With 2 minutes left in the half things got worse as Glenavon found their 4th. Gault was booked for a foul on Mitchell and from the free kick, from some distance out, Hall used to wind to fire the free kick past Brennan.
In added time Braniff was forced off with an injury and replaced by Conor McCloskey.
Despite being a man down, Ballymena's second half performance was a vast improvement on the first. Saying that, the first chance was a golden opportunity for Rhys Marshall. A free kick from Burns found Marshall completely unmarked, but somehow he headed wide. Mitchell almost completed his hat trick on 53 minutes when he got the better of Gault, but he dragged his low shot wide.
United skipper Ervin made a fantastic last ditch, goal saving tackle on Daniels straight after Mitchell's chance to keep the score at 4. Tuffey's first save of the game came on 55 minutes. McKinney found himself in a goal scoring opportunity but his shot was straight at Tuffey. Just before the hour mark McKinney went close again. Friel easily beat James Singleton on the wing and crossed for McKinney, but the winger couldn't keep the ball on target.
Friel then had two opportunities himself to score as Glenavon seemed to take their foot of the gas. First up from outside the box Friel had time to set himself but fired inches over the bar. A minute later he turned sub Caolan Marron, but again Tuffey was on hand to save. Friel and McKinney continued to link up well through the half and after the former got the better of Marron again, he set up McKinney who sliced an effort just wide.
Inside the final 15 minutes McKinney yet again tested Tuffey, this time from distance, but despite an awkward first bounce, Tuffey made the save. Ballymena brought on Fra McCaffrey and Willie Faulkner late on and McCaffrey went close. Leroy Millar forced Tuffey into a good save via his legs and the rebound fell to McCaffrey, who sent the follow up just over.
Inside added time Brennan saved well from another Glenavon sub, Marc Griffin, but the game finished 4-0 to end a good day for the second placed Lurgan Blues, as Ballymena suffered another disappointing Mourneview Park visit.
Ballymena United host East Belfast side Glentoran in the quarter-final of the Toals Co Antrim Shield on Tuesday night, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Conor Brennan, Kyle Owens ( 35), Michael Gault ( 42), Gary Thompson, Cathair Friel ( Willie Faulkner 82), Kevin Braniff ( Conor McCloskey 45), Andrew Burns, Jim Ervin, Steven McCullough, Leroy Millar, Joe McKinney ( Fra McCaffrey 86).

Subs not used: Ross Glendinning, Johnny Flynn.