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Bradley confident five-star Lurgan Blues can challenge for league title

Glenavon 5 Ballymena United 0

By Billy Weir

Published 24/10/2016

Net gains: Eoin Bradley blasts Glenavon’s fourth goal past Ballymena keeper Ben McCauley
Net gains: Eoin Bradley blasts Glenavon’s fourth goal past Ballymena keeper Ben McCauley

Eoin Bradley believes that Glenavon's five-goal thumping of Ballymena United can kick-start the Lurgan side's season and help them push for the Gibson Cup.

Bradley seems to come alive when he faces the Sky Blues, bagging two more goals against the Braidmen on Saturday as David Jeffrey's side's 10-match unbeaten run was blown out of the water.

Opening the scoring with a cracking sixth minute free-kick he then set up Ciaran Martyn a quarter of an hour later to head home and before the break when Jim Ervin slotted into his own net the visitors were on the ropes.

They tried hard to hit back but were hit with two more sucker punches before the end from Bradley and substitute Greg Moorehouse as Glenavon finally found the class that everyone thought they had.

Bradley, who missed a sitter in last week's scoreless draw with Carrick, made it a dozen goals against United, and hopes that there are many more to come from him and much more to come from Gary Hamilton's men.

"It's good to get on the scoresheet because last week I missed a few but it was good game, a good team performance and we needed that," he said.

"It's taken a while to come but hopefully that's the start of it now, training was very good on Thursday night and hopefully now we can go on a wee bit of a run because we have a tough November coming up.

"We've got Cliftonville and Linfield so we need to be at it, but if we play like that there we'll not have much bother.

"This year we've had a lot of draws and that's been killing us. But this isn't an easy league, any team can beat any team on any given day as you saw last week with Ballymena beating Crusaders, but hopefully that's the start of a run for us and build up the confidence."

The scoreline may have surprised many, including Jeffrey, but he isn't shocked that Glenavon have finally shown their quality and preferred to praise them rather than hammer his own players, who, in fairness, created plenty of chances of their own.

"Glenavon are a club we are aspiring to, they have built incrementally, when Gary came in it was about avoiding relegation, then it was about getting top six and then it was about seeing if they could win a trophy and they've won two Irish Cups and then it was about seeing if they could get into Europe, so they've done all of those things," he said.

"If you look at their squad today and you look at what they had on the bench, it's a pretty impressive looking outfit so they certainly are more than equipped to go and challenge for the league, there's no doubt about it.

"I couldn't fault my own players commitment or effort out there. I told the players 'fellas, today is a reality check and reminds you that you're human, not machines'."

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marshall, Singleton, Kelly, Lindsay, Martyn, Hall, Sykes (Kilmartin, 82 mins), McCourt (Braniff, 82 mins), Bradley (Moorhouse, 82 mins), Cooper. Unused subs: Patton, McGrory.

BALLYMENA UTD: McCauley, Ervin, Wallace, Owens, Loughran, T Kane, Faulkner, Thompson (McCloskey, 46 mins), Friel (Lowry, 70 mins), Jenkins, McMurray (E Kane, 89 mins). Unused subs: Flynn, Gage.

Referee: R aymond Crangle (Belfast)

Man of the match: Eoin Bradley

Match rating: 9/10

Belfast Telegraph

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