Glenavon 3-1 Ballymena United
Danske Bank Premiership
Mourneview Park, Saturday 21st September 2019
Match Report by Calum Jones
Photos by Maynard Collins and Brian Bain
Glenavon came from behind to record an impressive 3-1 win over Ballymena United at Mourneview Park on Saturday afternoon.
Cathair Friel put the visitors ahead on 11 minutes when he converted from Leroy Millar’s low cross, but Rhys Marshall, who has excelled in a midfield role in recent weeks, thumped in from 18 yards in the 28th minute to ensure that the scores were level at half-time.
Glenavon took the lead 12 minutes into the second half when Steven McCullough turned Aaron Harmon’s cross into his own net, while Jordan Jenkins sealed the win for the Lurgan Blues in the 90th minute when he flicked fellow substitute Stephen Murray’s cross past Ross Glendinning.
Ballymena opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Friel finished off an excellent move. Jude Winchester and Millar played a one-two deep inside their own half before Millar set off on a run down the right flank. Winchester then fed the ball infield to Andy McGrory, who in turn found Ryan Mayse. Mayse clipped a ball over the top to send Millar clear on the right. The midfielder then picked Friel out with a low cross and the striker made no mistake from eight yards, firing the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot.
Jack O’Mahony tried to respond for Glenavon 10 minutes later when he managed to squeeze a shot in from a tight angle, but Glendinning was equal to it, pushing it round the post for a corner.
Moments later Glenavon had the ball in the net following an Andy Hall corner, but it was ruled out for a foul on Glendinning by Andrew Mitchell.
Glenavon drew themselves level on 28 minutes. Marshall flicked a header into the box for Daniels and the winger hooked over a cross with his left foot which found O’Mahony. He controlled the ball with his left foot before teeing up Marshall with his right. Glenavon’s number 8 slammed a first-time shot past Glendinning with his right foot to grab his third goal in as many games.
Glenavon might have gone in front three minutes later when Paddy Burns’ cross from deep on the left almost drifted over Glendinning and into the net, but the goalkeeper was alert to the danger, springing up to push the ball over the bar.
Mitchell had an excellent game up front for Glenavon, and the striker whipped a wicked cross along the six-yard line in the second minute of the second half but Hall just couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
The Lurgan Blues went in front ten minutes later. Marshall picked Harmon out on the right flank with a pass and the right-back delivered the ball into the box with his left foot. McCullough tried to cut the cross out, but instead he only succeeded in turning the ball past Glendinning and into his own net.
Harmon delivered another good cross in the 63rd minute to pick out Mitchell, but the striker couldn’t direct his header on target.
Substitute Conor McCloskey had an opportunity to add to Glenavon’s lead in the 69th minute when Marshall found him with a cross, but he dragged a low left-foot shot wide of Glendinning’s left-hand post.
Three minutes later at the other end Friel headed over the bar from a McCullough corner.
McCullough was involved again in the 82nd minute, crossing from the left to create the visitors’ best opportunity of the second half for substitute Kenneth Kane, but he could only direct his shot wide of the near post.
Two minutes later McGrory’s corner fell for Jonny Addis at the back post. The defender got a well-struck shot in but Jonny Tuffey made a good save to preserve Glenavon’s lead.
The Lurgan Blues wrapped up the three points in the 90th minute. Brilliant interplay between Murray and O’Mahony on the left side of the penalty area created a crossing opportunity for Murray. He duly picked out fellow substitute Jenkins and the young striker flicked the ball into the far corner to make the final score 3-1.
Following yesterday’s victory over last season’s runners-up, next Saturday sees Glenavon travel to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park to take on reigning champions Linfield (kick-off 3pm).
Glenavon: 1. Jonny Tuffey (GK) (C), 3. Paddy Burns, 6. Andrew Doyle, 7. Josh Daniels, 8. Rhys Marshall, 9. Andrew Mitchell, 11. Andy Hall, 15. Aaron Harmon, 21. Jack O’Mahony, 27. James Singleton, 28. Robert Garrett
Subs: 20. Conor McCloskey (for 7. Josh Daniels, 56’), 30. Jordan Jenkins (for 11. Andy Hall, 79’), 24. Stephen Murray (for 9. Andrew Mitchell, 80’); not used: 2. Daniel Larmour, 4. Caolan Marron, 16. Sammy Clingan, 45. Eoin Wearen
Goals: 8. Rhys Marshall (28’), own goal (11. Steven McCullough, 57’), 30. Jordan Jenkins (90’)
Yellow Cards: None
Ballymena United: 1. Ross Glendinning (GK), 4. Jonny Addis, 6. Ryan Mayse, 9. Cathair Friel, 11. Steven McCullough, 16. Declan Carville, 17. Andy McGrory, 19. Kofi Balmer, 20. Jude Winchester, 21. Jim Ervin (C), 23. Leroy Millar
Subs: 28. Ross Lavery (for 16. Declan Carville, 62’), 12. Kenneth Kane (for 9. Cathair Friel, 79’); not used: 5. Scot Whiteside, 7. Shane McGinty, 26. Joshua Kelly, 29. Ethan Warnock, 31. Jordan Williamson (GK)
Goals: 9. Cathair Friel (11’)
Yellow Cards: None
Referee: Steven Gregg