No changes in the starting lineup for Glenavon but player-manager Gary Hamilton names himself among the substitutes.
Kevin Braniff tried his luck with a right foot shot in the 8th minute from 20 yards but Dwayne Nelson was happy to watch it flash past the foot of his left hand post.
Four minutes later Alan Blaney made a comfortable save from Alan Davidson’s weak left foot shot from the edge of the area after the ball broke for the ex-Glenavon midfielder.
David Cushley in action against Glenavon’s Conor Dillon. Pic by John McIlwaine-Press Eye
There was a flashpoint in the 15th minute that kicked off with a poor tackle by David Cushley on Braniff and when the crowd of players that formed was eventually cleared Referee Tim Marshall saw fit to caution Cushley and Shane McCabe. The latter appeared hard done by as he seemed to trying to separate the players involved in the scuffle.
On the half hour mark a low whipped Ally Teggart cross flew across the 6 yard area and Matt Tipton, sliding in at the back post, just failed to make contact. Four minutes later Gawley got on the end of a pass from Teggart but his rising shot at the near post cleared the bar.
Kyle Neill celebrates after opening the scoring in the final minute of the first half. Pic by John McIlwaine-Press Eye
The deadlock in a largely disappointing first half was finally broken in the last minute. McCabe had won the ball in a challenge in the centre circle against Gavin Taggart and Braniff cleverly flicked it out to Eoin Bradley on the right wing. An unmarked Kyle Neill was able to run onto his cross and smash a left foot shot past the helpless Nelson to give the visitors a half time lead.
Glenavon’s Ciaran Caldwell in action against Ballymena’s Gavin Taggart. Pic by John McIlwaine-Press Eye
Blaney had to recover quickly to deny Kyle McVey early in the second half after he failed to deal with a cross into the six yard box but his quick reactions saw him make a vital save on the goal line.
Bradley doubled the lead 9 minutes into the second half when he burst past Davy Munster and McVey onto a ball out of defence by Paddy McNally that was flicked on by Braniff. The ex-Coleraine striker took one touch before blasting his left foot shot past Nelson.
Eoin Bradley celebrates after scoring Glenavon’s second goal. Pic by John McIlwaine-Press Eye
Glenavon’s third goal was a comedy of errors for Dwayne Nelson. First he kicked his clearance against Rhys Marshall then, as the ball spun up in the air he contrived to drop it at Marshall’s feet who was left with the simple task of walking the ball into the empty net.
Rhys Marshall rounds Balllymena goalkeeper Dwayne Nelson to score Glenavon’s third goal. Pic by John McIlwaine-Press Eye
The fourth goal was pure class, however, with Hamilton and fellow substitute Andy McGrory playing a one-two before the boss curled a right foot shot past Nelson from a tight angle.
Allan Jenkins headed a late consolation for the hosts from a cross to the far post by Tipton but in the end it couldn’t detract from another excellent away day performance by Gary Hamilton’s side.
Ballymena Utd.: Nelson, McCullagh, McVey, Munster, McBride (Boyce 57), Gawley, Davidson (Jenkins 57), Taggart (McCaul 71), Teggart, Cushley, Tipton. Subs not used: Stewart, Ruddy
Cautions: Cushley 15, Gawley 28, Taggart 64, McCaul 90
Glenavon: Blaney, McKeown, Dillon, McNally (Murphy 68), Singleton (Martyn 85), Marshall , McCabe (c), Caldwell, Neill (McGrory 80), Braniff, Bradley (Hamilton 72). Subs not used: Kilmartin, Murphy.
Cautions: McCabe 15, Bradley 35, Hamilton 72
Referee: Tim Marshall