Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena Utd strike to leave Glenavon stunned

By Gordon Hanna

Glenavon 0 Ballymena Utd 2: Glenavon were left to wonder how they surrendered their 100 per cent record at Mourneview Park last night.

The early pacesetters conceded a seventh minute goal then battered the Braidmen for more than an hour.

But for all their possession and dominance the Lurgan outfit were unable to make it pay and were further punished three minutes from time when sub Richard Gibson stabbed home from Michael Smith’s cross.

Wily Gary McCutcheon was the man to break the deadlock with a cheeky looping header which caught home keeper Andy Plummer completely flat footed. In fact it looked as if Plummer was blinded by the evening sunshine as the ball sailed over his head.

Gavin Taggart fired in a shot which was blocked by Stuart King and the ball obligingly spun into the air allowing the Scotsman to pounce.

Mark Surgenor was impeded by Kyle Neill but referee David Malcolm refused penalty claims and then hardman Denver Gage powered a header wide.

After that it was all Glenavon but they simply couldn’t create a clear enough chance.

Mark Miskimmin’s glancing header drifted wide and Tony Grant’s lob bounced agonisingly close while Willo McDonagh’s header clipped the crossbar.

And when Trevor Molloy threatened, Gage managed to head his effort over the bar.

McCutcheon had a back heel flick saved by Plummer in a rare Ballymena attack but all the action was at the other end with Conor Walsh then Molloy going close.

Then with time running out Marty Quinn’s men were caught cold as Ballymena broke quickly and Michael Smith produced the perfect cross for sub Gibson to stab home a second.

United boss Roy Walker refused to accept it was a smash and grab but conceded: “We had to be at our best and our two centre halves were immense.

“Glenavon got the ball forward quickly which put us under pressure. But we did what we had to do against a team which had won their opening three matches.”

Glenavon: Plummer; Shannon, Magee, McDonagh, Neill (Costello 76 mins); Molloy, Harpur (Harper 72 mins), Walsh, King; Grant, Miskimmin. Subs not used: Johnston, Haughey, Lavery

Ballymena United: Nelson; Surgenor, Watson, Gage, Stewart; M Smith, Taggart, Hanley (Haveron 62 mins), Carson (Gibson 45 mins), McDowell (Colligan 67 mins); McCutcheon. Subs not used: Murray, Young

Referee: David Malcolm (Bangor).

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