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Tuesday 15th October v. Crusaders (home) - Toals Co Antrim Shield Rd 2 - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Saturday, 19th Jan, 2019 at 20:19

Date: Saturday, 19th January, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1306;
Glenavon [0] [0]
Ballymena United [2] [2]
Venue: Mourneview Park; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Arnold Hunter; Assistant 1: Paul Robinson; Assistant 2: Andrew Nethery; 4th Official: Lee Tavinder;
[0-1] LECKY, Adam (13 mins), [0-2] WINCHESTER, Jude (35 mins)

BALLYMENA United beat Glenavon at Mourneview Park in the league for the first time since February 2012, with goals coming from Adam Lecky and Jude Winchester.
Leroy Millar and Andy McGrory were back in the United starting XI after lengthy spells out through injury as Adam Lecky made a return to the front two, partnering Cathair Friel.
The Sky Blues were in control of the game from the off as they settled much quicker than the hosts. United were almost ahead just 6 minutes in when Friel beat Johnny Tuffey to a through ball and lifted it over the 'keeper, only for Caolan Marron to clear the ball off the line.
However, Ballymena were ahead on 12 minutes after a howler from Tuffey. A fantastic, passing team move ended with a shot from Friel being spilled by Tuffey and rebound off Rhys Marshall before Lecky smashed the ball home on the line to make it 1-0.
Glenavon hoped to start creating any sort of chance after falling behind, but as Nial Grace was about to let fly from just inside the box, Millar produced a thumping tackle to thwart the chance. That half chance for Grace was the closest Glenavon came in the opening half an hour as Ballymena continued to dominate with more great play. Millar teed up Friel from a corner but the forward couldn't quite swing his leg round enough to keep his effort on target. Glenavon felt they had a claim for a penalty when ex-United man Conor McCloskey put a ball across goal for Stephen Murray, who instead of shooting went down inside the 6 yard box. Referee Arnold Hunter showed no interest in the appeals and Glenavon Assistant Paul Millar was sent to the stands for his protests.
On 34 minutes Ballymena got a deserved second goal. Another fine team move ended with Lecky turning provider as he slipped Jude Winchester through. Winchester timed his run perfectly to stay onside and one on one with Tuffey he made no mistake in putting the ball under the goalkeeper and into the corner.
Within two minutes the same combination almost made it 3-0. Lecky put Winchester through again with an outrageous back heeled pass but Dylan King did well to get back and make a goal saving tackle. As The Braidmen maintained their assault on the Glenavon goal Millar saw an effort drift just wide and Marron got in the way just in time to stop a dangerous Friel cross. The last 5 minutes of the half saw Glenavon have their first sustained period of pressure in the game. The Lurgan Blues almost pulled one back from a corner but King rattled the post with a header from an Andy Hall corner as Ballymena took a 2-0 lead to half-time.
Just 4 minutes into the second half Ballymena were forced into a change. Goal scorer Winchester had been struggling with a virus all game and couldn't continue, seeing him replaced by Ryan Harpur. The opening 15 minutes of the half saw no clear cut chances for either side, though Ballymena looked slightly the more likely to work either 'keeper as Glenavon struggled to put the visitors under any early pressure.
With just over 25 minutes left an inswinging free kick from the edge of the box via the boot of Steven McCullough was caught by Tuffey, however the ball looked to be only a matter of inches away from crossing the line. A minute later Friel burst clear but from an acute angle his shot was gathered by Tuffey. As Glenavon finally looked to be putting the watertight Ballymena defence under some sort of pressure, Millar showed his defensive qualities again, blocking a shot from McCloskey before making a last ditch challenge to snuff out the follow up. United hit on the counter straight away and almost made it three when more great play from Lecky put Friel in, but as he tried to bundle the ball home at the near post Marshall cleared it on the line.
As Ballymena looked to make the last 10 minutes a non-contest, Kofi Balmer got on the end of a corner at the back post and despite it looking like Tuffey had made a terrific save, Balmer's shot must've came off the post as a goal kick was awarded.
In the final 5 minutes Murray turned a cross well wide before a shot/cross from Marshall almost cleared the stand to rather sum up Glenavons day as Ballymena ran out 2-0 winners. It's a first victory at Mourneview for Ballymena in almost 7 years as the Sky Blues continue to keep pace at the top of the table.
Ballymena United host Ards in the Danske Bank Premiership next Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Jonathan Addis, Cathair Friel ( Johnny McMurray 82), James Knowles, Steven McCullough, Andrew McGrory, Kofi Balmer, Jude Winchester ( Ryan Harpur 48), Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Tony Kane, Scot Whiteside, Willie Faulkner, Matthew Shevlin.