Guy Bates hat-trick finishes off Ballinamallard
Ballinamallard 0 Glenavon 3: Guy Bates was thrilled to bag the goals which sent Glenavon through to the Irish Cup quarter-finals but admitted his side had not had things all their own way against Ballinamallard United.
At the third time of asking, this sixth round tie – which had previously been postponed and then abandoned by a waterlogged pitch at Ferney Park – was settled thanks to conversions from Bates on 11, 63 and 90 minutes.
The hat-trick hero afterwards explained: "This is a very tough place to come, so we're delighted to have been able to get through to the next round.
"We had to work hard for it and you'll always have to do that against Ballinamallard, but we knew that if we could produce a good performance and create chances, we'd be able to play our way into the next round."
The burly Englishman opened the scoring with an early header from Andy McGrory's cross but the Mallards were unfortunate not to level when Ryan Campbell was denied by the post.
In between times, both McGrory and Bates had been denied by a fine double save from Alvin Rouse as the Lurgan Blues went in search of the goal that would put them firmly in control.
It duly arrived when McGrory once again provided the assist for Bates to register an eye-catching strike but Ballinamallard came close to setting up a granstand finish only for David Kee's header to clip the crossbar.
Their victory all but guaranteed by this stage, the visitors made absolutely sure when, after being upended in the area by Steve Feeney, Bates took ownership of the match ball with a stoppage-time penalty.
"It was a very pleasing performance," said first team coach Nigel Law, whose side will face Glentoran at The Oval in next Monday's last-eight tie.
"We are pleased with how we managed the game, they had a spell in the first half when they could have went 2-1 or 3-1 up, but we weathered that storm and we then played really well. We scored good goals at good times."
Ballinamallard boss Whitey Anderson was, meanwhile, understandably deflated after a disappointing loss on home soil.
"At 1-0, we were always in the game, he said. "The thing that disappointed me at 2-0 down was that we just gave up and we are going to have to show more character than that."
BALLINAMALLARD: Rouse, Stafford, Kee, Hutchinson (Courtney, 46 mins), Lecky (Crawford, 59 mins), McCartney, Feeney, McManus (Beacom, 66 mins), Campbell, Martin, Crilly.
Glenavon: McGrath, McCallion, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bates, Patton (Rainey, 54 mins), McGrory (McCaul, 82 mins), McKeown, McCabe, Singleton, Mulvenna (Hamilton, 70 mins).
Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Belfast)