Glenavon 3 Ballymena 1
Glenavon were clinical and Ballymena wasteful in this feisty clash which saw five players booked and one helped out of the fray with a suspected broken leg.
Fortunately later examination revealed Mark Surgenor’s injury not to be quite so harrowing, leaving manager Roy Walker relieved and thankful.
Walker confirmed: “The injury isn’t as serious as we thought. It’s a soft tissue injury which isn’t too bad. Thankfully there is no bone damage.”
Surgenor, however, wasn’t the only one hurting at the end of a game United dominated for most of the second half yet ended up losing.
Trailing to a 29th minute Trevor Molloy strike, the Braidmen were obviously intent on putting things right.
But hard as they tried, they simply could not make their overwhelming possession count.
Glenavon, on the other hand, taught Walker’s triers a cruel lesson in finishing to ease themselves into fifth place in the Carling Premiership table.
And it was the trio of manager Marty Quinn’s substitutes who did the damage after Gary McCutcheon eventually levelled matters with an exquisite effort.
The little Scot weaved his magic and drifted past several defenders before slotting the ball beyond a hitherto brilliant Andrew Plummer.
Veteran Tony Grant changed the whole course of the game with a double blast after replacing Mark Miskimmin with less than half an hour on the clock.
Cruel perhaps on the run of play but there was little sympathy from Lurgan boss Marty Quinn.
He said: “We know how Ballymena might feel but let’s not forget when we played at their place we were 3-1 up going into injury time and ended up with only a share of the spoils.
“This is a massive three points when you look at what happened elsewhere.
“We’re into fifth place which keeps us on track for a top six finish.
“But there is still work to be done starting with the home game against Newry City on Tuesday.”
Rival boss Walker was philosophical, insisting: “We were ring rusty in the first 45 minutes but I got the response I wanted in the second half.
“But it’s fair to say we were wasteful in front of goal and their goalkeeper made a couple of very good saves.”