Lurgan Blues pay the penalty as Kelbie snatches victory for United
Ballymena United 1 Glenavon 0
Kevin Kelbie scored a late, late winner for Ballymena United against Glenavon last night with a 94th minute penalty-kick.
The game was ebbing towards a scoreless draw when Andrew Plummer tripped Gary Muir on the line as he was about to tap home Noel Anderson’s cross that had squeezed through the keeper’s arms.
The home side had begun strongly at the Showgrounds and but for Glenavon’s Paul Carvill, they could have been two goals up inside 10 minutes.
Ballymena’s lively recent signing, Gary Muir wreaked havoc in the box with his corner kicks, the first causing Jay Magee to almost score an unfortunate own goal. Luckily for Marty Quinn’s men, the defender’s header was nodded onto the bar by Carvill who then also blocked Gary Haveron’s ensuing overhead kick.
However, Carvill’s early heroics weren’t complete as, seconds later, Muir’s next corner was headed toward goal by Albert Watson and the winger made yet another goal-line clearance.
It was that man Carvill who had Glenavon’s first effort but he poked Mark Haughey’s cross over the bar on 19 minutes. As the Blues began to hit back at their opponents, Trevor Molloy tested the crossbar when he cut inside Lee Colligan and unleashed a ferocious 20-yard drive which dipped over Dwayne Nelson.
The away side had the first chance of the second half but James Costello’s first effort was well saved by Nelson and his second, following a delicious long ball by the impressive Ryan Harpur, flew harmlessly wide of the near post.
Glenavon had the ball in the net through substitute Willo McDonagh but his header from Ryan Harpur’s in-swinging free-kick was ruled out for offside.
At the other end, Roy Walker’s substitute Noel Anderson spurned a glorious opportunity. Gary Muir’s right wing cross was nodded down by Kelbie at the back post and the midfielder hit his point-blank effort straight at Plummer who held on well.
However, the goalkeeper couldn’t hold on to his clean sheet as Kelbie smacked his penalty high into the right side of the net to snatch victory for the home side.
BALLYMENA UNITED: Nelson, M. Smith, Colligan, Haveron, Watson, Taggart, Muir, Surgenor (McLaughlin 83), A. Smith, Kelbie, Lockhart (Anderson 76)
GLENAVON: Plummer, Haughey, Dickson (McDonagh 46), Magee, Davey, Carvill (King 71), Johnston, Harpur, Murray, Molloy, Costello (Grant 76)
Referee: Brian Turkington (Belfast)