Belfast Telegraph

Hat-trick hero Eoin Bradley bigs up keeper after win Glenavon win over Ballymena United

Glenavon 3-1 Ballymena United

By Peter Jordan

Hat-trick hero Eoin Bradley praised goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey following his side's 3-1 win over Ballymena United at Mourneview Park.

The striker had also scored three in the 7-1 demolition of the Sky Blues at the Showgrounds earlier this season.

However, this was a different Ballymena side on show and but for a wonderful display from Tuffey, the result could have been very different.

The Glenavon attack will be boosted when they face Crusaders next Saturday, as manager Gary Hamilton has signed former Republic of Ireland under-21 international Daniel Kearns.

"I got the match ball but I think man-of-the-match should have gone to our keeper," said Bradley.

"He pulled off a great save to keep us on level terms and he was solid all game.

"To be honest it's probably the worst we've played all season and I didn't think I had a particularly good game myself, but if we can collect all three points when we're not firing on all cylinders then I think that's the sign of a good team."

Ballymena were rewarded for their early superiority when David Cushley nodded in Matthew Tipton's clever assist on 12 minutes, but, just before the break and against the run of play, Glenavon levelled when Bradley slid in from close range to convert Andy Hall's pass.

Referee Raymond Crangle awarded Ballymena a penalty following Andy Kilmartin's handball from a Tipton shot but Tuffey produced a wonder save from Cushley's well-taken spot-kick.

Bradley then got his second in the 81st minute from Hall's inswinging corner. And the big striker sealed the points minutes later when he followed up to finish his rebounded penalty, awarded for another handball, this time by United defender Tony Kane.

Sky Blues manager Glenn Ferguson was left wondering how his side didn't get something from the game.

"We were on top for long periods and their first goal was against the run of play," he said.

"We missed a host of chances, that's the difference. On another day, we'd have got something."

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Neill (Patton, 71 mins), Buckley, Marshall, Kelly (Sykes, 65 mins), Dillon, Lindsay, Hall, Kilmartin, Bradley, Braniff (Hamilton, 75 mins). Unused subs: McGrory, Lynch

BALLYMENA: Nelson, Kane, McVey, Taylor, Ervin, Faulkner, Thompson, Jenkins, Cushley, Tipton, Shevlin, (Henderson, 75 mins). Unused subs: Magennis, Taggart, Ruddy, Gawley

Man of the Match: Eoin Bradley

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

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