Glenavon 4 Ballymena United 1
There are definite signs that Gary Hamilton’s New Year prediction is on track.
Even in darker times, the rookie Glenavon boss insisted better times lay ahead. And if proof was needed this thumping win has taken the Lurgan Blues’ points haul to 13 from their last six matches — only title pacesetters Cliftonville have better form.
And part of the beauty of it all is that Hamilton suffering from flu symptoms was only needed for a nine-minute cameo, preferring to show faith in his youngsters, teenager Andy Mitchell, who started, and Robbie McDaid and Jude Ballard who finished.
But the man of the match was, undoubtedly, bustling Guy Bates who thrilled the home fans with two goals, one assist and a superb all-round display.
Bates broke the deadlock with a deflected free-kick and applied the icing on the cake with a second five minutes from the end.
Jamie Davidson had levelled the scores at 1-1 but thereafter there was only going to be one winner.
Skipper Kris Lindsay powered home a header to give Glenavon an interval lead and six minutes after the break Ciaran Martyn climaxed a move involving that man Bates.
Hamilton left it to coach Nigel Law to sum up the performance.
He said: “ From minute one to 90 we dominated and were never in danger. It was disappointing to concede from an individual error but we bounced back.”
United boss Glenn Ferguson admitted: “We didn’t work hard enough, we didn’t battle, we didn’t win the second ball and we certainly didn’t create enough.”