There were just two ‘Match 3’ winners tonight so next week’s Jackpot will be worth £1600.
To replay the Live updates from the game please click here.
This was a poor performance by Glenavon in a vital game that could have moved the club clear of the foot of the table but more shambolic defending gifted two goals to the visitors who did not have to work too hard for a well deserved victory.
Ciaran Doherty was carrying a slight injury so he missed out today but Jonny Magee, Niall Henderson and the boss Gary Hamilton were all on the bench. Mattie Burrows was handed his first start since his January move alongside Tony Grant up front.
Ballymena were unchanged from last week’s win over Carrick Rangers.
Kyle Neill had the first opening of the match in the 5th minute from a neat through ball by David McAllister but his shot was wide of the target. James Costello got his head to Rory Carson’s 18th minute free kick but it went straight to Davy O’Hare. Grant then tested Dwayne Nelson with a back post header from Brendan Shannon’s cross but the Sky Blues keeper was equal to it. A minute later Brian McCaul had a shot blocked in the United box and the ball broke for Ballymena with Jenkins putting in an excellent cross but Costello missed the ball completely as he attempted a glancing header.
In the 31st minute United went ahead when Gary McCutcheon latched onto a weak clearance from Jay Magee and his shot from 20 yards was deflected off a defender to take it away from O’Hare and into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later Gavin Taggart rolled a free kick into McCutcheon’s feet and he fed Costello who brought a great save out of O’Hare, the ball trickling towards the far post before being cleared. In the 39th minute O’Hare came for a free kick but failed to get a decisive punch and the ball dropped into a melee of players with the Glenavon defenders unable to get it clear before Johnny Taylor took possession and was adjudged to have been brought down by Jay Magee. McCutcheon scored his second goal of the game from the spot, O’Hare going the right way but unable to save the well-struck penalty.
Gary Hamilton made two changes at half time, bringing himself on for the ineffective Mattie Burrows and replacing McAllister with Niall Henderson. It was the visitors who opened the second half with more intent though as somehow Alan Teggart contrived to fire a shot with his favourite left foot high over the bar from 12 yards when McCutcheon’s cross found him in space 12 yards out. Kyle Cherry fired a left foot shot from 20 yards that was just over the bar and a dangerous free kick by Hamilton flashed across the goal but Neill was unable to get enough on it to direct his header in at the back post.
With 15 minutes remaining Dwayne Nelson pulled off a brilliant save to keep out Brian McCaul’s shot from 10 yards. O’Hare was in action a minute later as he dived to his right to push a deflected shot away from goal but McCutcheon latched onto the loose ball and he set up Carson but he blazed high over when he really should have hit the target.
O’Hare made another good save from Jenkins after the United skipper ran onto Ross Black’s cross and side-footed a low shot and in the final minute of normal time Henderson fired a shot just wide of the angle from Hamilton’s lay-off.
Glenavon: O’Hare, Shannon, Convery, Jay Magee, Turkington, McAllister, Neill, McCaul, Cherry, Burrows, Grant. Subs: Rooney, Henderson (McAllister 46), Miskimmin (Cherry 78), Hamilton (Burrows 46), Jonny Magee
Ballymena Utd: Nelson, Rodgers, Black, Taggart, McCutcheon, Jenkins, Carson, Teggart, Munster, Costello, Taylor. Subs: Vauls, Stewart, Gillan, Davidson (Costello 68), Lowry (Taggart 88)
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)
Today’s Match Sponsor was Lagan Valley Steels who were represented by Managing Director Mr Tommy Anderson. The Ball sponsor wished to remain anonymous and the Man of the Match Sponsor was Mr Noel Hayes whose choice was Tony Grant.
Glenavon player-manager Gary Hamilton returns to the squad for tomorrow’s visit of Ballymena United after missing the last three games with a hamstring strain. He completed a couple of good training sessions this week and will be ‘involved’ tomorrow. “Obviously I’ve been out for a few weeks so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. The Reserves have a game on Wednesday night and I’ll hopefully play in that,” Gary told us.
Teenage striker Andrew Mitchell will be representing Northern Ireland Schoolboys in Scotland on Friday night and the boss feels it would be unfair to ask him to play again on Saturday but Tony Grant will be back after he was rested for the game at Seaview last week, the boss unwilling to risk the veteran striker on the artificial surface. Jay Magee is fit after missing out last week with a foot injury and Jonny Magee, who last played in the Irish Cup win over Portadown in January, makes a welcome return after overcoming a hamstring problem. Niall Henderson is also back in contention after he was forced to sit it out last time with a bruised ankle but Peter McCann is out after suffering a slight reaction in a midweek Reserves game.
Gary was impressed with the performance last Saturday of winger David ‘Dee Dee’ McAllister who made his First team debut, playing the full 90 minutes, and he names the youngster in the squad for tomorrow’s game. “I was very happy with him last week and the boys are all talking about him in training and that’s a good sign. He’d been out injured since I took over but once fit he was training with the squad and the boys were asking ‘who’s this young kid’ and on Saturday coming off at Seaview they were saying how good a player he is. We’re not putting any pressure on him; we just want him to go out and enjoy himself. He’s got the ability and something different that not too many players at our club have got. He does what you want a winger to do: he’s got the ability to beat players and not just beat them but put the ball into the box when he does beat them. Some players have the ability to beat their man but they want to come back and beat them again and again and for a manager that is the most frustrating thing.”
Looking ahead to the game tomorrow, Gary is not placing any emphasis on the Sky Blues last visit when Glenavon won 3-0. “They were down to ten men after 20 minutes so we’re not going to read anything into that. The boys obviously did well to beat them 3-0 but that was 11 v 10 and tomorrow we’ll have to match them 11 v 11. They are coming off the back of a good result against Carrick last week and Glenn will be looking to make it back to back wins and we’ll have to be ready for them.
“Glenn Ferguson’s always been a top player in my eyes and, in the time I’ve been following the Irish League, he’s the best player to have played in that league. As well as his undoubted ability he had something that a lot of other talented players don’t have – he had a great work ethic as well and he has instilled that in Ballymena as a manager. I watched them last week against Carrick and Ballymena worked their socks off so, first and foremost, if we are going to have any sort of result tomorrow we’ll have to match their work rate.”
Glenavon Squad (from): O’Hare, Convery, Jay Magee, Jonny Magee, Shannon, Turkington, Cherry, Doherty, Henderson, McAllister, McCaul, Neill, Rooney, Burrows, Grant, Hamilton, Miskimmin.
Match Officials: R. Hetherington, A. Neeson, M. Adamson, C. Floyd
Glenavon FC is very grateful for the generous support of our sponsors.
An anonymous supporter
Man of the Match Sponsor
Mr Noel Hayes
- The Mid Ulster Cup final with Newry City will be played at Mourneview Park on Wednesday 7 March, kick-off 7.45pm. The Clubs tossed a coin for choice of venue.
- Our Harry Cavan Youth Cup semi-final, Glenavon III v Armagh City Youth, will be at Stangmore Park Dungannon on Tuesday 6 March, kick-off 7.30pm.
- Following consultations with the club’s Safety Officer it has been agreed that our Carling Premiership home game v Glentoran on Saturday 10 March, kick-off 3pm, will be graded as “Category B” and therefore will not be all-ticket.
There was just one ‘Match 3’ winner tonight so the roll-over Jackpot next week will be worth £1500.