Ballymena United 0 Glenavon 3
Manager David Jeffrey has apologised to Ballymena United's fans after Saturday's beating by Glenavon at the Showgrounds.
While the Lurgan Blues, boosted by a number of new faces, looked lively and raring to go, it was a different story for a United side desperately low in confidence.
Despite starting well with on-loan Kyle Owens forcing Jonny Tuffey to push his shot onto the post and Cathair Friel pulling a strike wide when in a great position, once Glenavon took the lead it was different story.
There was a huge slice of misfortune with Conan Boyle's free-kicked diverted into his own net by Owens and then, on the stroke of half-time, United lost skipper Jim Ervin with a medial knee ligament injury that could rule him out for two months.
United came close again, Tuffey denying Declan Carville with a world class save just five minutes before Danny Purkis doubled the visitors' advantage.
Friel also smacked the woodwork with a header and Matthew Snoddy cleared off the line before Greg Moorhouse came off the bench to add a third in injury-time.
For Jeffrey, it is certainly the toughest time of his tenure at Warden Street and he must try and lift his troops for tomorrow night's County Antrim Shield final against Cliftonville.
"All we can do is apologise to our supporters and say sorry but we're doing our best," he said.
"We can't spend any more time doing what we're doing, training, working and thinking and whatever else, but when you get the level of luck we had on Saturday...
"On a footballing side, you can be critical and say 'well, you've got to take your chances' and that's 100 per cent right but it becomes a completely different game of football.
"When you have a goalkeeper of the calibre of Jonny Tuffey; it wasn't that they were missed chances, they were unbelievable saves.
"Then we crashed one against the bar and had one headed off the line."
As for Glenavon, they were more like the Glenavon of old, the risk Gary Hamilton has taken in shaking his squad up, enforced in some ways, certainly showing early promise.
"I thought the guys on the pitch proved what I want teams to be about, that's what I want to associate myself with," said Hamilton.
"Sometimes you have to make harsh decisions and I've had to do that over the last few weeks.
"We've tried to bring in players who we think will play the way we want to play.
"Obviously there is the other scenario where players leave and it isn't always the case that we want them to leave, they have to decide to leave or whatever, but the players we have gone out to try and recruit, we'll try and make them fit into our system of play and play how we want to."
BALLYMENA: Williamson, Ervin (Andrew Burns, 46 mins), McCullough, Addis (Aaron Burns, 70 mins), Owens, Kane (Kelly, 70 mins), McGrory, Reece Glendinning, Friel, Carville, Millar. Unused subs: Ross Glendinning, Knowles, Winchester, Lavery.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Harmon, Singleton, Garrett (O'Mahony, 90 mins), Birney, Doyle, Daniels, Snoddy, Jenkins (Moorhouse, 81 mins), Purkis, Byrne (McCloskey, 64 mins). Unused subs: Larmour, Burns, Beggs, Sharkey.
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)
Man of the match: Jonny Tuffey
Match rating: 7/10