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Monday 27th July v. Coleraine (neutral) - Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup SF - k.o: 4:00pm

Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup semi-final

Uploaded Saturday, 18th Jan, 2020 at 19:29

Date: Saturday, 18th January, 2020; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1067;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Glenavon [1] [3]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Keith Kennedy; Assistant 1: Paul Robinson; Assistant 2: Andrew Nethery; 4th Official: Raymond Crangle;
[0-1] OWENS, Kyle (o.g. 35 mins), [0-2] PURKIS, Daniel (65 mins), [0-3] MOORHOUSE, Gregory (90 mins)

ANOTHER disappointing day for Ballymena United at the Showgrounds saw the Sky Blues suffer a heavy 3-0 defeat to Glenavon.
The Braidmen welcomed back Kyle Owens who started for his second debut after he re-joined on loan from Crusaders, while both Andrew and Aaron Burns returned to the bench after injury.
Glenavon started the better of the two but didn't turn their possession into chances and it would be the hosts who threatened goal first. A cross in from Reece Glendinning was met by Declan Carville, who again was playing up top with Cathair Friel, with Carville's floated header going inches wide of the post. A matter of minutes later Owens almost marked his second coming in style when he let fly from surely all of 40 yards, but his low effort was tipped onto the post by Jonny Tuffey. Shortly after the resulting corner Steven McCullough did well on the left and found Carville who neatly flicked the ball into the path of Friel, but in a great spot just yards out he dragged his effort wide.
That bright ten minute spell for United would prove to be the only period of any real quality shown by the home side for the remainder of the game, despite the fact Glenavon weren't near their best either. Glenavon's new signing in the week, Calum Birney, headed wide from a corner, before Jordan Williamson did well to gather a ball fired across the six yard box by Daniel Purkis, with Josh Daniels waiting behind the 'keeper to score.
Williamson was tested again shortly afterwards but easily gathered a drive by Jordan Jenkins, but on 35 minutes Williamson could do nothing as Glenavon went ahead. The Lurgan Blues received a questionable free kick on the edge of the Ballymena box and Conan Byrne's strike took a wicked deflection off Owens, sending the ball the opposite way and into the goal.
It was very nearly two in quick succession when Purvis' shot looked in the whole way, only to curl narrowly wide of the bottom corner. At the end of the half Andy McGrory slipped in Friel who was the next to curl one just wide in what was the last chance of the half. There are little more worrying sights for Ballymena supporters than seeing Jim Ervin down injured, and those fears became reality when the skipper had to be helped off the pitch as he was substituted on the half time whistle, with Andrew Burns taking his place.
United started the second period reasonably well and had the first chance of the half, albeit a difficult one as Jonny Addis headed a corner wide from a challenging position with the ball behind him. Straight up the other end Glenavon almost made it 2-0 when Andrew Doyle failed to score from close range, and after a bit of a goalmouth scramble Williamson was able to come out of it with the ball. Ballymena couldn't have come much closer to equalising on the hour mark when Friel picked out Carville with a good delivery, with Carville's header looking certain to go in before it was wonderfully saved by the hand of Tuffey. From the corner United were left frustrated again when Friel met the ball but saw his bullet header come back off the post.
The Sky Blues were left to rue those close shaves even more when the visitors doubled their lead on 65 minutes in far too easy circumstances. Jenkins glided through the United half completely unchallenged by a Sky Blue shirt and slid in Purkis who rounded Williamson and slotted home.
United's rather timid attempts at a comeback started ok when Friel went close again, only to be denied by another fine Tuffey stop, this time with his legs. David Jeffrey made a double sub with 20 minutes to go as Anthony Kane and Addis made way for Josh Kelly and Aaron Burns. Another cracking save by Tuffey to keep a Leroy Millar free kick out was Ballymena's only effort on goal in the final 15 minutes until added time, as Glenavon's defence dealt well with the limited attempts thrown at them.
As the board for 4 minutes of added on time went up McCullough had a volley from the edge of the box cleared off the line by the head of Doyle, and in the final minute of the game Glenavon compounded the Braidmen's misery with a third. Daniel's got down the left flank with ease and crossed for Conor McCloskey. He teed up fellow sub Greg Moorhouse and in acres of space his half volley squeezed in past Williamson to bring an end to an all to familiar day for Ballymena this season.
Ballymena United travel to the National Stadium on Tuesday night to take on Cliftonville in the Toals Co Antrim Shield Final, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Tony Kane ( Joshua Kelly 70), Jonathan Addis ( Aaron Burns 70), Cathair Friel ( 67), Steven McCullough, Declan Carville ( 90), Andrew McGrory, Jim Ervin ( Andrew Burns 46 90), Leroy Millar, Reece Glendinning, Kyle Owens ( 34).

Subs not used: Ross Glendinning, James Knowles, Jude Winchester, Ross Lavery.