Glenavon started the game on top with a Gary Muir cross setting up a chance for Steo Donnelly via an Andy Hall header inside the first 30 seconds but the striker’s shot was deflected for a corner. Josh Daniels, who had an excellent game, then had a shot on target comfortably saved by Ross Glendinning.

Jonny Tuffey was then called into action to save from a well-struck James Knowles free kick and the United midfielder then delivered a dangerous corner that was eventually headed off the line by Andrew Mitchell.

A major talking point came right on the stroke of half time when Sky Blues defender Andrew Burns was shown a straight red card by referee Steven Gregg for what he must have decided was a dangerous tackle on Mark Sykes as he drove towards the edge of the box and got a shot away just as the tackle came in.

Andrew Burns (14) saw red for this challenge on Mark Sykes. Photo by Maynard Collins

With Ballymena reduced to ten men for the entire second half Gary Hamilton made the bold move of replacing Donnelly and Gary Muir (who was on a booking) with Stephen Murray and loan signing Ben Doherty.

The ten men could have gone ahead in the 56th minute when Johnny Addis headed a Knowles free kick straight into the arms of Tuffey but less than a minute later Aaron Harmon fired home to give Glenavon the lead after a sweet move involving Rhys Marshall and Sykes down the right.

Matthew Shevlin broke his collar bone in an innocuous challenge with Marshall and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Ten minutes after Harmon had put the home side in front Daniels doubled the lead with a superb looping header over Glendinning from a free kick by Dylan King that picked out the winger beyond the far post.

Daniels continued his good night’s work as he refused to give up on what looked like a lost cause and hooked the ball back from the bye line but it took a wonderful touch from Murray to control the ball, swivel and shoot in from six yards to make it 3-0.

Andy Hall completed the scoring six minutes from time and again it was Daniels with the assist. After combining well with Doherty he played the ball across the area and Hall calmly side-footed it beyond Glendinning.