Result: Glenavon 3-0 Ballymena Utd.

Gary Hamilton makes a total of eight changes to the line-up that started last week’s Irish Cup semifinal, only Johnny Tuffey, Rhys Marshall and James Singleton retain their places.

Jordan Jenkins has certainly staked a claim for a regular starting place with some excellent front play. After going close with a first time shot in the 7th minute, he capitalised on a poor punch by Tim Allen from a high ball into the box by Chris Turner to stab home from close range to send Glenavon in 1-0 up at the break.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Wow! Jordan Jenkins volleys in from 10 yards. What a stunning goal as the youngster blasts McGrory’s cross into the back of the net in the 52nd minute with Allen flat-footed. The keeper had no chance with that.

JJ volleys in the second goal. Photo by Maynard Collins

Five minutes before the Sky Blues keeper pulled off a great save to push a James Gray header over the bar from Chris Turner’s cross.

Chris Turner had a an impressive game in midfield until forced off by injury in the 58th minute. Photo by Maynard Collins

Greg Moorhouse loves playing against Ballymena – that’s his sixth goal against the Sky Blues this season! Only four minutes after coming off the bench he swivelled in the box and slotted a low right foot shot into the bottom corner. Rhys Marshall provided the assist as he played a one-two with Moorhouse then dribbled into the box before the ball broke off a Leroy Millar challenge and the Glenavon striker quickly latched onto it.

Greg Moorhouse makes it 3-0. Photo by Maynard Collins

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Marshall, Kelly, Lindsay, Singleton, McGrory, Kilmartin, Turner (Hall 58), Patton (Cooper 70), Jenkins, Gray (Moorhouse 79). Subs: Neill, Cooper, Hall, Marron, Moorhouse

Goals: Jenkins 42, 52, Moorhouse 83

Ballymena Utd.: Allen, Owens, Flynn, A Jenkins, McCloskey, Ervin (c), Millar, McKinney, McMurray, McCaffrey (Lowry 61), Kerr (Henderson 73). Subs: Glenadinning (GK), Henderson, Wallace, Lowry, Loughran

Referee: Ross Dunlop

Preview: Glenavon v Ballymena United

As the post-split round of matches kicks off tomorrow, the visit of Ballymena United is Glenavon’s only home game of the five remaining scheduled league matches.

After last Saturday’s Irish Cup semi-final loss to Coleraine, Glenavon’s only hope of European qualification lies through the play-offs, with a complex scenario depending on the final league placings and the Irish Cup winners determining who plays who in those play-off matches. The team finishing higher in the league earns home advantage in each of the play-off pairings. As it stands, if the teams finish in their current positions Glenavon would travel to Ballymena for the play-off semi-final on the Tuesday after the Irish Cup Final.

We asked Gary Hamilton what his approach will be for the remainder of the season: “The key for us now is to make sure we’re ready for the play-off semi-final. We know now that we’re going to be in that and we have to make sure we have everybody match fit and ready to go and up for selection. Over the next five weeks everybody will get a turn at some stage and again some of the players who have played in most of the games over the season might get a couple of games rest to allow the boys who haven’t played as regularly to get their match fitness up. That allows us to pick our best team if they’re all match fit.

“It allows us to have a look at Jordan Jenkins over the next two or three games as his goal-scoring record in the Reserves has been excellent – he’s scored 49 goals between the Reserves and the 17’s this year, mostly for the Reserves. To be fair, we have to have a look at him and see if he’s able to step up to the mark because it’s no secret that the big thing we’ve been missing this season has been goals. From the attacking point of view, apart from Greg, none of us has really hit the goals per games that’s really required as a striker and, as I’ve said, JJ is way above that at Reserve team level. So he deserves a little chance and we’ll see what happens with him.”

Presseye 30th July 2016 Photograph: Stephen Hamilton Northern Ireland Hospice charity shield match between Glenavon and Crusaders at Mourneview Park in Lurgan. Jordan Jenkins celebrates after scoring the winning goal for Glenavon.

“A couple of other young lads might feature over the next few games as well and we’ll have a look at them with reference to next season as well. If we don’t make Europe this year obviously the budget will be cut and we may have to look at a few of these young players with a view to bringing them in as first team players next season.”

Goalfest?

The three games between the sides so far this season have produced a total of 18 goals – an average of six per game! The first game at the Showgrounds ended in a 3-3 draw, Glenavon won the return fixture 5-0 and made an amazing comeback from 3-1 down at half time to take all three points in a 4-3 away win in January. Greg Moorhouse’s hat-trick was key in helping the Lurgan Blues to complete that fightback and the young striker has scored in all three games with the Sky Blues, bagging five goals against them.

Hat-trick hero Greg Moorhouse celebrates. Photo by Maynard Collins.

Ballymena’s high-scoring midfielder Tony Kane starts a two-game suspension following his red card against Cliftonville in the Sky Blues last league game.

For Glenavon, David Elebert (hamstring), Guy Bates (ankle), Aaron Canning (back) and Mark Sykes, who has been unwell all week, are all out tomorrow.

Match Officials

TBC

Our Sponsors

 Match Sponsor Ball Sponsor Man of the Match Sponsor
Ogilvie Fleet  Sandra Ledlie  Eddy Kerr & Phillip Harrison

….Finally, good news for all occupants of the Fosters Chocolate Family Section in the Geddis Stand who will receive some freebies at the game. Home supporters are reminded that for the majority of our home games primary school children are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Also, keep an eye out for IFA mascot ‘Sweet Caroline’ who is rumoured to be making a guest appearance at MVP on Saturday to promote the forthcoming UEFA Women’s under-19 Championships which take place in August at four venues throughout the Province including Mourneview Park and the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Result: Ards 1-0 Glenavon

As expected Gary Hamilton makes six changes from last week’s starting lineup: James Taylor, Andy Kilmartin, Kyle Neill, Mark Patton, Andy Doyle and Renato de Vecchi start.

There was a minute’s silence before kick off and a pause during the 5th minute of the game for a minute’s applause in honour of Derry City’s Ryan McBride who passed away on Sunday.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Not a lot of football being played with a lot of long balls but Glenavon seem to be edging the play as far as any quality is concerned. Gray dragged a shot well wide and Renato lobbed over from just outside the box.

The best chance of the half however fell to the hosts in the 23rd minute when Josh Doherty made great connection with Guillaume Keke’s cross but Taylor pulled off a great save, tipping the shot over the bar.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Three minutes later a potential mix-up in the Ards defence could have cost them a goal after Gray and Andy McGrory exchanged passes before the latter played the ball into the box for Renato, playing as a striker today. Aaron Hogg seemed to spill the ball as he collided with teammate Callum Byers. McGrory picked up the rebound and crossed back in but the danger was cleared as Robbie Norton, on as a substitute for Chris Turner who had picked up a hamstring injury, tried to get on the end of it.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Patton fired into the side netting in the first minute of the second half after he was played in by Renato who then had a header easily saved from Kyle Neill’s corner.

In the 64th minute Patton was unlucky when his header from Andy Kilmartin’s cross crashed back off the underside of the bar.

Ten minutes from time Craig McMillen was just off target as he tried his luck from 35 yards when he spotted Taylor off his line.

Callum Byers headed Doyle’s back post header off the line from an 88th minute Kyle Neill corner but the hosts won the game thanks to a penalty award a minute later for a hand ball against Simon Kelly.

Taylor went the right way and managed to save Michael Ruddy’s spot kick but he couldn’t hold the ball and the Ards penalty specialist fired home the rebound.

Ards: Hogg, Hall, Byers, Friars (c), Ruddy, Cherry (McCullough 67), Tommons, McMillen, Doherty, Keke (Arthurs 90), Liggett (McComb 79). Subs not used: McMullan, Hughes

Cautions: Liggett 63, Friars 65

Glenavon: Taylor, Doyle, Kelly, Lindsay, Neill, McGrory, Kilmartin (c), Turner (Norton 26), Patton, Renato (Jenkins 63), Gray (Hamilton 80). Subs not used: Young, O’Mahoney

Cautions: Patton 45, Lindsay 77

Referee: Lee Tavinder

Preview: Ards v Glenavon

Glenavon’s final match before the split, with a top six finish already secured, sees them head to the Bangor Fuels Arena to take on Ards. The hosts have picked up 7 points from their last five games and with a 12 point lead over second-bottom Carrick Rangers, are probably safe from any relegation play-off concerns. This leaves them free to have a real go at catching the teams above them, Colin Nixon’s side only trailing 7th placed Dungannon Swifts by four points.

Glenavon has lost just once in the last five league games (the defeat to Coleraine last Saturday), registering home wins against Ballinamallard and Dungannon with 0-0 draws away to Glentoran and Carrick.

Gary Hamilton has been clear in his comments after last week’s defeat at home to Coleraine that his priority is to avoid any serious injuries or suspensions kicking in ahead of next Saturday’s Irish Cup Semi-final. “It’ll be a different starting eleven next week,” he told BBC Sport in his post-match comments. “We’re never going to catch third place now, given the way results have gone, so next week (against Ards) we will rest the starting eleven for the following week and make sure that they’re right and they’re ready. They’ll do a training session and some will play a part in the Reserves game, on a grass pitch because obviously it’s a 4G pitch at Bangor and that’s the kind of pitch that I feel players can pick up injuries very quickly and that’s the last thing I want.”

Result: Glenavon 1-2 Coleraine

Photos by Alan Weir and Maynard Collins

Coleraine kept their excellent run of form going with this hard fought win at Mourneview but Glenavon will feel they deserved something from the game, creating more chances, but clinical finishing by Jamie McGonigle saw the Bannsiders head back up the road with all three points, taking them up to third place.

Chris Turner makes his long-awaited debut in Glenavon’s midfield and Kris Lindsay and Simon Kelly return to action in the centre of defence.

After a promising start from the visitors it was Glenavon that took the lead in the 10th minute. After Andrew Hall’s shot was blocked by  Mark Edgar, Rhys Marshall kept the ball alive and fed James Gray on the right of the box. His low shot took a deflection and fell nicely for Joel Cooper who showed great composure to fire in at the far post.

Photo by Maynard Collins

Coleraine were level in the 26th minute when Jamie McGonigle glanced a cross from Adam Mullan beyond the dive of Johnny Tuffey and into the bottom corner.

The second half was barely a minute old when Kelly smashed a shot off the under side of the bar from a Hall corner with James Singleton’s follow up being deflected for a corner.

As Hall prevented a throw in in the Coleraine third it proved to be an advantage to the Bannsiders as the ball was played down the line to Eoin Bradley and he cleverly flicked it inside to release McGonigle and he strode into the box before slotting it past Tuffey for his second goal of the game.

Guy Bates’ cross was played on to Cooper by Gray and the winger’s low shot across the goal went just wide of the far post. Bates himself then headed just over from a near post cross by Hall before having a penalty claim waved away after he was challenged in the box by Steven Douglas.

After Bates was replaced in the 65th minute by Greg Moorhouse a corner from the right delivered by Cooper was met at the near post by a combination of Kris Lindsay and Chris Turner, the header flashing just wide.

With 15 minutes to go Ian Parkhill should have sewn the points up but he fired wide when he should have hit the target. In the 87th minute Parkhill’s cross gave Tuffey something to worry about as the Glenavon keeper was forced to get a hand to the ball as it looked to be dipping just under the bar.

In stoppage time the Glenavon keeper came up for a corner and possibly got his head to Hall’s free kick but Coleraine played the ball out and but for a timely intervention by Turner, with Tuffey stranded up field, it could have resulted in a third goal for the visitors.

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), McGrory (Renato 74), Kelly, Lindsay, Singleton, Hall, Turner, Marshall (Sykes 45), Cooper, Bates (Moorhouse 65), Gray. Subs: Canning, Sykes, Marron, Moorhouse, De Vecchi.

Cautions: Turner 25, Marshall 42

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Harkin, Douglas, McCauley, Kee, Parkhill, Edgar (McConaghie 20), McGonigle (Allan 83), Bradley (McLaughlin 83). Subs: McCafferty, McLaughlin, McConaghie, Doherty (GK), Allan

Cautions: Bradley 51, Johns 84, Douglas 89

Referee: Raymond Hetherington.