BALLYMENA UNITED 2
GLENAVON limped to a 2-0 defeat to Ballymena on Saturday afternoon, putting in a poor display at Mourneview Park.
After a promising display at Crusaders last week, they were back to their worst in front of their home support and Gary Hamilton will certainly need to see an improvement in his side if they are to stay in the Carling Premiership.
The gaffer kept himself on the bench for Saturday’s game, alongside the returning Niall Henderson but both were introduced at the break with Glenavon already 2-0 behind and made a slight improvement to their side, although didn’t muster any goals.
Before their introduction, the Blues were barely in the game, overrun in midfield, non-existent up top and dodgy in defence.
They did have the first chance of the game after a great Brendan Shannon pass allowed David McAllister to set up Kyle Nell but he could only fire wide of goal. Tony Grant then saw a tight-angled header saved and that was as good as it got before the break.
The Blues soon found themselves 1-0 behind when Jay Magee’s poor clearance fell to Gary McCutcheon 20 yards from goal and his deflected effort ended up nestling into the bottom corner.
The striker then almost set up James Costello for a second goal when he wasn’t picked up on the edge of the area but Davy O’Hare just about stopped Costello’s effort.
The second didn’t take long to come though. A free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with by O’Hare and it fell into the midst of a group of players, wasn’t cleared and when Johnny Taylor seized possession he was brought down by Jay Magee.
A penalty was the outcome and McCutcheon smashed it into the bottom corner, just beyond O’Hare’s dive.
Rory Carson then missed a great chance to make it 3-0, unmarked in the box as Ballymena ran riot.
Half-time saw the introduction of both Hamilton and Henderson for Glenavon but it was the visitors that missed another great chance shortly after the restart. Gary McCutcheon slid the ball in to Alan Teggart but he could only blast over the bar from close range with the goal at his mercy.
Kyle Cherry, who was at least trying to play the ball in midfield, then tried to haul his side back into the game but he could only fire over from 20 yards out. Glenavon were beginning to force chances but Kyle Neill could only glance Hamilton’s in-swinging free-kick narrowly wide of the post.
Brian McCaul was then handed his side’s best chance of the game as Shannon’s cross dropped at the winger’s feet. However, Dwayne Nelson pulled of a great save to deny Glenavon before his opposite number made an even better stop to keep out Allan Jenkins’ well struck effort that looked destined for the bottom corner.
Time was left for Niall Henderson to fire just past the apex of the goal before referee Raymond Hetherington blew the final whistle to confirm defeat for Glenavon, leaving them just a point above basement side Carrick Rangers.
GLENAVON: O’Hare, Shannon, Convery, Jay Magee, Turkington, McAllister (Henderson 46), Neill, McCaul, Cherry (Miskimmin 78), Burrows (Hamilton 46), Grant.
Unused Subs: Rooney, Jonny Magee
Ballymena Utd: Nelson, Rodgers, Black, Taggart, McCutcheon, Jenkins, Carson, Teggart (Lowry 88), Munster, Costello (Davidson 68), Taylor.
Unused Subs: Vauls, Stewart, Gillan
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)