Ballymena United 1 Glenavon 0

Sports Direct Irish Premiership

The Showgrounds, Ballymena

Tuesday 16th April 2024

Despite dominating the second half and playing for 35 minutes with a one-man advantage, Glenavon was beaten 1-0 by Ballymena United.

The only goal was scored in the 9th minute by Calvin McCurry.

United defender Scot Whiteside was sent off in the 53rd minute for deliberate handball. Peter Campbell’s penalty-kick was saved by Sean O’Neill.

Glenavon midfielder Jack Malone was also dismissed in the 86th minute for a foul challenge on Donal Rocks.

Ballymena started the game brightly. After Steven McCullough’s shot from distance was deflected over the crossbar, Fraser Taylor took the corner kick. He crossed to the back post for Daithi McCallion to head into the danger zone. McCurry darted into the space between two defenders and beat Mark Byrne was a volley from 6 yards.

McCurry, boosted by the goal, shot straight at Byrne and then almost netted a second with a close-range effort which the Glenavon goalkeeper saved brilliantly.

At the other end Niall Quinn blasted over from distance.

In the 36th minute the visitors should have equalised. Len O’Sullivan made a fine break on the left and delivered a low cross. Somehow Lido Lotefa failed to connect and Peter Campbell, standing at the far post, shot wide from 6 yards.

Before half-time Ballymena had another chance to extend its lead when Noah Stewart pulled the ball back for Alex Gawne to shoot high and wide.

The second half was dominated by Glenavon.

In the 51st minute James Doona dispossessed a defender and let fly with a left foot shot. Sean O’Neill dived to make a fine stop.

Two minutes later Matthew Snoddy found himself free in the box with only O’Neill to beat. When his shot was blocked by Gawne, Lotefa latched onto the rebound but his goalbound effort was handled by Whiteside. Referee Robinson pointed to the spot and sent the Ballymena defender for an early bath.

Peter Campbell, playing his first match since mid-March, took the spot-kick but O’Neill dived to his left to make a comfortable save.

Jack Malone and substitute Jamie Doran both shot over the crossbar before Stephen Teggart almost equalised. Len O’Sullivan found Campbell on the edge of the penalty area. He moved the ball quickly to his right, but Teggart’s right foot attempt was partially blocked by a defender.

Three minutes later Sean Ward delivered a superb cross, but the unmarked O’Sullivan somehow headed wide from 6 yards.

Then Ward shot wildly over the crossbar when a misdirected clearance landed at his feet. Another good chance squandered.

With four minutes remaining Jack Malone was red carded for an over-the-top challenge on Rocks.

In the closing minutes Stephen Teggart’s dangerous cross was nodded clear by a defender and Danny Wallace headed over from point blank range following Peter Campbell’s corner-kick.

BALLYMENA UNITED: O’Neill, Whiteside, Gawne, McCullough, Brown, Taylor, Boyle, Stewart, Barr, McCurry, McCallion, SUBS: Johnston (not used), Rocks for Taylor (83 mins), McGrory (not used), Tennant for McCurry (83 mins), McMurray for Stewart (77 mins), Robinson (not used), Hood for Bar (90+3 mins).

Yellow Cards: McMurray (87’), Gawne (88’).

Red Card: Whiteside (53’).

GLENAVON: Byrne, Toure, O’Sullivan, Ward, Wallace, Quinn, Malone, Snoddy, Lotefa, Campbell, Doona, SUBS: Gracey (not used), Kerr (not used), Hodgins for O’Sullivan (82 mins), Teggart for Toure (67 mins), Doran for Lotefa (60 mins), Clarke (not used), Garrett for Snoddy (67 mins).

Yellow Card: None.

Red Card: Malone (86’).

REFEREE: Jamie Robinson.