Blues find no cheer at Ballinamallard

A dismal December continued for Glenavon as they lost 1-0 at Ballinamallard on Saturday.

Once again the Lurgan Blues failed to take their chances and unable to keep a clean sheet, it cost them the points at Ferney Park

Ballinamallard's Ryan Campbell with Glenavon's Kyle Neill

Ballinamallard's Ryan Campbell with Glenavon's Kyle Neill

Gary Hamilton made five changes to the starting line-up with the most notable being the return of Mark Patton, his first start since he scored the Irish Cup winner in May.

Glenavon had a let-off inside the first few minutes when James McGrath failed to hold a corner, the ball was loose but McGrath managed to gather it before Stafford could pounce.

From a Braniff corner at the other end James Singleton just failed to hit the target by a few yards.

It took Glenavon 20 minutes to create their first chance on goal when Braniff picked out Bradley but he skied the ball over the bar from close in.

Glenavon weathered the early home threat and began to get on top and had two chances to make the breakthrough in two minutes. First Patton did well to nip away from his marker and his dipping shot just flew over and then Braniff drilled the ball hard and low into the box and Martyn was just inches away from connecting.

The visitors were enjoying a fair amount of possession at this stage but there was a narrow escape when Campbell’s shot clipped off Neill and looped just over the bar with McGrath stranded.

Two minutes before the break Campbell connected with a half volley which McGrath did well to hold. A minute later Kyle Neill’s well struck free kick took a slight deflection but McCusker in the home goal got down well to make the save.

Right on the whistle Martin got on the end of a long clearance but his lob was off target.

Both teams started the second half at a high tempo and it was end to end in the first ten minutes with half chances for both sides.

Ten minutes in and the home side got their noses in front with a well struck shot from Ryan Campbell after good work down the left flank by Liam Martin.

Having already picked up a yellow and a warning from referee Andrew Davey, Kris Lindsay made way for Paddy McNally on the hour mark.

The Lurgan Blues pushed forward to try and find a way back but Ballinamallard always looked dangerous on the counter attack.

Bradley and Braniff went close but with 20 minutes to go on came Darren Forsyth for Bradley and he was unlucky to see his shot fly wide after getting in behind the home defence.

McNally was forced to retire after sustaining a blow to the head with Andy McGrory coming off the bench.

McCartney should have doubled Ballinamallard’s lead in the first minute of six minutes stoppage time but he sliced wide with only McGrath to beat.

Glenavon: McGrath, Neill, Lindsay, Bradley, Patton, Caldwell, Marshall, Braniff, McCabe, Martyn, Singleton.

Subs: Kilmartin, McGrory, Forsyth, McNally, Lavery.