PREMIERSHIP: Harry McConkey's Ballinamallard United pick up a point in first game as Glenavon finish frustrated
Harry McConkey's first fixture as Ballinamallard United boss since 2006 resulted in a well-earned point as Glenavon's March misery extended to four home games this month without victory.
Ballinamallard United kicked off life after the resignation of Gavin Dykes with a resolute performance on the road and spirited scoreless draw following McConkey’s return to the club on Thursday night.
Play proved difficult due to strong winds and the overall tempo of the match lacked cohesion and clearcut chances.
Marc Griffin had sights of goal early on but fired over the bar and lifted a lob just wide.
The best chance of the first half also dropped for Griffin when he raced into the packed penalty area to attack Eric Foley’s corner-kick delivery but the flick lacked power and Richard Brush dropped low to save.
United worked hard and offered some positive passages of play despite sitting locked at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership.
Glenavon managed to survive a second-half scare when Jonny Tuffey produced a save to deny subsitute Josh McIlwaine then Stuart Hutchinson’s drive off the rebound was blocked in front of the line by Bobby Burns.
Brush had previously pulled off a fortunate but fine stop to prevent Foley from breaking the deadlock as the United goalkeeper’s outstretched leg deflected away a low curling free-kick attempt from the edge of the area.
Glenavon pushed as play progressed in a bid to turn the wind advantage into a boost on the scoreboard.
Griffin’s header bounced off the post following good approach play by Joel Cooper.
Moments later, a sweeping Burns ball to the back post dropped for the unmarked Stephen Murray and Cooper but neither managed to gain a touch.
A clearance by Michael Kerr led to sustained treatment and his exit on a stretcher - forcing United to play, having introduced all three substitutes at this point, with 10 men from 84 minutes.
An injury-time header by Mark Sykes off Sammy Clingan’s free-kick offered a late glimpse of the goalmouth but Brush collected with ease before a sweeping Clingan corner-kick drifted across the box without a decisive touch.
GLENAVON: Tuffey, Foley (Clingan, 77), Doyle, Daniels, Marshall, Mitchell (Murray, 64), Sykes, Marron (Burns, 57), Griffin, Cooper, Singleton.
Subs (not used): Lindsay, Norton.
BALLINAMALLARD UNITED: Brush, Kerr, McLoughlin, McKenna, Smyth, Leddy (Taheny, 76), Kee (Clarke, 81), Curran, McGinty, McCartney (McIlwaine, 59), Hutchinson.
Subs (not used): Armstrong, Mailey.
Referee: Ross Dunlop.