Result: Glenavon 2-1 Ballymena Utd.

Friday night football and a big crowd enjoyed a thrilling game between the hosts and the current league leaders as Glenavon striker Guy Bates prepared to bid farewell before heading to start his new life in Australia.

Guy Bates bids farewell to the Glenavon supporters. Photo by Alan Weir.

Guy Bates bids farewell to the Glenavon supporters. Photo by Alan Weir.

Glenn Ferguson will rue the missed chances, most of them falling to David Cushley, as his team suffered their first defeat of the season and, at least until Saturday, Gary Hamilton’s Glenavon side can enjoy the fact that they moved up to third, just two points behind the early season pace setters.

Kris Lindsay glanced in the opening goal in the 5th minute from a wicked in-swinging Kyle Neill corner. David Cushley almost replied immediately when he drove a shot from just outside the box that Alan Blaney beat away to safety.

Eoin Bradley congratulates Kris LIndsay after he scored the opening goal. Photo by Alan Weir

Eoin Bradley congratulates Kris LIndsay after he scored the opening goal. Photo by Alan Weir

Andy McGrory then tried his luck with a dipping volley from the left corner of the box but Dwayne Nelson dealt with it comfortably.

In the 26th minute Cushley showed great skill to flick the ball over Rhys Marshall’s head but he couldn’t direct his shot on target, Blaney happy to see it drift wide of his left hand post. Three minutes later the little United forward latched on to a long ball but was penalised for colliding with the Glenavon keeper just inside the box.

Glenavon debutant Ciaran Caldwell played Blaney into trouble when he attempted to head the ball back from near the centre circle but the Glenavon keeper did well to rush out of his area and make a great block tackle to deny Cushley another shooting chance.

On the stroke of half time Cushley showed great skill to control a through ball, beat Rhys Marshall and draw Blaney out but unfortunately for the Sky Blues, he dragged his shot wide with the goal gaping.

Ten minutes into the second half Caldwell put over a great cross which McGrory played back in from beyond the far post but Ciaran Martyn put his header well wide.

Just after the hour mark United briefly thought they had equalised when it appear Davy Munster had headed in from a Neal Gawley free kick but the big defender was penalised and cautioned for deliberate hand ball.

Rhys Marshall made it 2-0 to the Lurgan Blues in the 65th minute when he headed in from another Neill corner after his initial effort had been headed off the line. Ballymena will point to the fact that it should never have been a corner in the first place, Gareth McKeown clearly slicing his shot out of play without any contact from a Sky Blue player.

Rhys Marshall heads in goal number 2. Photo by Alan Weir

Rhys Marshall heads in goal number 2. Photo by Alan Weir

Sixty seconds later Eoin Bradley had a great chance to make it 3-0 after Johnny Taylor failed to cut out a through ball but the former Coleraine man, after drawing Nelson out, curled his shot narrowly wide.

Referee Raymond Hetherington sent off Glenavon’s Shane McCabe and Ballymena skipper Allan Jenkins for an off-the-ball incident in the 68th minute as Kris Lindsay and Darren Boyce were ‘tangling’ on the ground after they had challenged each other for an aerial ball.

Shane McCabe and Allan Jenkins explain what happened after they were sent off! Photo by Alan Weir.

Shane McCabe and Allan Jenkins explain what happened as they were sent off! Photo by Alan Weir.

With 15 minutes of normal time left on the clock Guy Bates came on to a standing ovation from the large Glenavon support in the Geddis stand as he replaced Bradley.

There were 7 minutes remaining when the visitors had claims for a handball in the box by Lindsay waved away by the ref, Mark Surgenor picking up a yellow card for his protests.

Two minutes later Cushley finally got the goal he deserved when he beat Blaney from the edge of the box after a fortunate break of the ball had favoured Matthew Tipton who crossed for his team mate and this time Cushley didn’t try to blast it but went for a measured chip.

Gavin Taggart then tried his luck with a 25 yard shot that Mr Hetherington adjudged had been touched over the bar by Blaney but he then awarded a free kick out from the resulting corner. In the final minute of the 90 Martyn fired a volley just wide from Bates’ cross but in the four minutes of added time, as United went three at the back and pushed forward for an equaliser, Tipton went  mighty close with a header that he glanced inches wide from a dangerous cross to the far post by the marauding Taylor.

Glenavon: Blaney, McKeown, Lindsay (c), Marshall, Neill, Caldwell, McCabe, Martyn, McGrory, Braniff (Hamilton 73), Bradley (Bates 76). Subs not used: McCallion, Murphy, Kilmartin.

Goals: Lindsay 5, Marshall 65

Cautions: McCabe s/o 68, Bradley 72

Ballymena Utd: Nelson, McCullagh (Kane 73), Munster, Taylor, McBride, Gawley (Surgenor 73), Taggart, Jenkins (c), Teggart (Boyce 60), Cushley, Tipton. Subs not used: Stewart, Ruddy

Goals: Cushley 85

Cautions: Munster 62, Taggart 64, Jenkins s/o 68, Surgenor 83

Referee: Raymond Hetherington

Preview: Glenavon v Ballymena United

Last Saturday it was a visit to the Champions, on Friday its a visit from the current league leaders Ballymena United, kick off 7:45pm. The free-scoring Sky Blues will have the extra incentive of not only going for the three points to possibly extend their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, but Glenn Ferguson and his players will be out to erase the memory of their Irish Cup Final defeat at the hands of Glenavon back on May 3rd. On the other hand, a win for the home side would move the Lurgan Blues to within just two points of the leaders.

With a number of injury problems for Gary Hamilton’s squad the game could see debuts for Ciaran Caldwell and latest signing Tony McNamee.

Conor Dillon is out for a few weeks with the heel injury he sustained at Solitude last week, Mark Patton is still working his way back to fitness from a back problem he picked up in pre-season but James Singleton could make his return from a thigh problem.

Ciaran Caldwell is in with a strong chance of making his Glenavon debut. Photo by Philip Hawthorne

Ciaran Caldwell is in with a strong chance of making his Glenavon debut in Friday night’s match. Photo by Philip Hawthorne

Head to Head Last Season

Sat 03/05/14 Ballymena United 1 – 2 Glenavon Irish Cup  More info
Sat 22/03/14 Ballymena United 2 – 1 Glenavon  League More info
Sat 14/12/13 Glenavon 0 – 0 Ballymena United  League More info
Sat 10/08/13 Ballymena United 3 – 6 Glenavon  League More info

Our Sponsors

We’d like to express our gratitude to tonight’s sponsors.

Match Sponsor Ball Sponsor Man of the Match Sponsor
Mechanics Institute Gordon Gough  Glenavon Ladies

Match Officials

Referee: Raymond Hetherington. Assistant 1: Adrian Sobieski. Assistant 2: Mark O’Brien. 4th Official: Keith Kennedy.

Result: Cliftonville 3-3 Glenavon

There were four changes to Glenavon’s starting line up: Kilmartin, McGrath, Mulvenna, Lindsay dropping out and McCabe, Martyn, McKeown, Blaney coming in.

A first senior hat trick for Ciaran Martyn saw Glenavon come away from Solitude with a hard-earned point which looked unlikely after David McDaid had put the champions 3-1 up in the 65th minute. Martyn had given the Lurgan Blues an early lead but the Reds came storming back with a quick-fire double from Joe ‘the goal’ Gormley to lead 2-1 at half time. The casual onlooker may have thought the game was over at 3-1 but this Glenavon side under Gary Hamilton’s management has shown a ‘never say die’ attitude and it saw them through once again.

Hat-trick hero Ciaran Martyn speaks to Gary Ellis after the game

Hat-trick hero Ciaran Martyn speaks to the Lurgan Mail’s Gary Ellis after the game.

Martyn put Glenavon ahead in the 8th minute with a calm side-foot finish from the edge of the box from Eoin Bradley’s cutback. This was just reward for a great start by the Lurgan Blues who put the hosts under pressure from the kick off.

Ciaran Martyn opens the score. Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

Ciaran Martyn opens the score. Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

Bradley had already seen a left foot shot brush the foot of the post after good work by Guy Bates and a very late whistle from Referee Andrew Davey denied Bradley after he had outmuscled Marc Smyth. Initially the ref seemed to be happy to let Bradley play on but possibly the 4th official had intervened on the intercom.

Joe Gormley levelled ten minutes later with Glenavon claiming Conor Dillon had been fouled by the Reds striker in the build up. Before that Andy McGrory had hit the side netting from a tight angle and Bradley had fired a dipping left foot shot just over the bar.

Gormley put the champions in front in the 22nd minute after Blaney saved Chris Curran’s shot but the ball fell to the Reds striker at the back post who hammered it into the roof of the net.

Bradley’s 48th minute chip hit the top of Devlin’s bar. Blaney saved from Curran’s 52nd minute shot and Martyn forced a save from Devlin when he nodded down Braniff’s 54th minute free kick.

Conor Dillon had to go off with an ankle injury in the 58th minute, Eddie McCallion replacing him.

In the 65th minute David McDaid scored his first Solitude goal when he outfoxed McKeown and evaded Neill’s challenge to get on the end of a long free kick by Reds keeper Devlin and slid the ball under Blaney. The reason for the free kick was not at all clear, initially a throw in having been awarded to Glenavon.

Martyn gave the visitors some late hope when he tucked away a right foot shot after Bradley showed a great touch to take down Blaney’s kick out before laying it round the corner for Martyn to take in his stride.

Gary Hamilton almost earned a point for his side when he saw his 85th minute free kick come back off the bar with Devlin rooted to the spot and McGrory headed the rebound over.

Unbelievably, the Lurgan Blues did earn that point and it came thanks to a third goal of the game for Ciaran Martyn, the big midfielder hooking in from close range at the near post after Adam Foley headed on Hamilton’s quick throw in.

Cliftonville: Devlin, Scannell, Flynn, Smyth (McGovern 28), McMullan, Curran (Winchester 82), Johnston, Catney, Donnelly (Garrett 71), McDaid, Gormley. Subs not used: Knowles, Cosgrove

Goals: Gormley 18, 22, McDaid 65

Cautions: Johnston 10

Glenavon: Blaney, Marshall, McKeown, Dillon (McCallion 58), Neill, Braniff (Hamilton 84), McCabe, Martyn, McGrory (Foley 90). Subs not used: Hoey, Kilmartin

Cautions: Neill 60, Bradley 80, Martyn 82

Goals: Martyn 8, 83, 90+1

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)


Preview: Cliftonville-Glenavon

If you’re a manager looking for a reaction from your team after a disappointing performance there’s no better game to have the next week than a trip to the reigning champions. At least that’s Gary Hamilton’s view as he looks ahead to Saturday’s Dankse Bank Premiership game at Solitude. “The lads have trained hard this week and really worked their socks off and we’re hoping they’ll have got last week’s performance out of their system. Cliftonville are a team who are formidable at home and they’ll be favourites to win the league again this year so it’ll be a tough one. We’ve been coming closer over the last few years to getting something out of the games at Solitude.

“Hopefully, with there being no expectation of us winning, the boys will go out and get something from the game. We will go there and try and take something from the game as we always do.”

Speaking about the arrival of Ciaran Caldwell, Gary said “He’s a player I’ve always admired and he’s the type of midfielder I like; one who can get in the opponents box and score goals. He’s hungry to play regularly and I’ve no doubt he will improve us; he’s at a great age and hopefully he will be at Mourneview for years to come.

“I’d like to wish Tiarnan (Mulvenna) all the best in the future. He’s been a great lad to work with in the time he was with us.”

Gary welcomes back Shane McCabe and Ciaran Martyn to the squad but Kris Lindsay is missing tomorrow due to work commitments and James Singleton (thigh) and Mark Patton (back) are still out injured. Winkie Murphy and Gareth McKeown are also available to the manager after both completed suspensions.

Caldwell will not feature against his old side tomorrow as the formalities were not completed in time but he may be available for Monday’s WASP Solutions League Cup game with Lisburn Distillery.

Match Officials

Referee: Andrew Davey Assistants: Kristian Hanna, Mark O’Brien 4th Official:  Ian McNabb