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Glenavon in seventh heaven as Sky Blues are humbled


Get in: Kevin Braniff was on target at Showgrounds

Get in: Kevin Braniff was on target at Showgrounds

Brian Little

Eoin Bradley

Eoin Bradley

Brian Little

Get in: Kevin Braniff was on target at Showgrounds

Glenavon demolished Ballymena by rattling a magnificent seven past a simply awful United side.

Eoin Bradley stole the show, making up for criticism of his performance during the season opener - a 1-0 home defeat to Cliftonville - with a well taken hat-trick.

It was a total contrast from their less than impressive display against the Reds as the Lurgan Blues ran rampant.

The home side were left stunned after just 59 seconds when Rhys Marshall got the final touch to a Kyle Neill corner, lifting the ball over Alan Blayney.

Within 10 minutes it was 2-0. This time Andy Hall, making his debut for Glenavon, swung in another corner.

Captain David Elebert rose highest and made no mistake with his point blank header.

Kevin Braniff could have made it 3-0 when he was left in acres of space to control a Marshall throw and shoot inside the box. Fortunately for Ballymena, he missed.

United's defence, and in particular Paddy McNally, were punished on 20 minutes for their inability to deal with Glenavon's pressure when Bradley was able to slip Braniff in to fire in the third goal after just 20 minutes.

Every time Glenavon came forward they looked like scoring.

With half an hour gone it was 4-0 when another Neill corner was put back across goal by Braniff for Bradley to smash home on 30 minutes.

The home side, booed off at half time, were at sixes and sevens throughout the first half and created nothing of any note.

The introduction of Matthew Shelvin in the first half and Gary Thompson at half time looked to give them some new energy.

They pulled a goal back, catching Glenavon on the counter attack with David Cushley leading the charge and Shelvin finishing the move. But the visitors weren't done and the goal of the night came on 65 minutes.

Hall capped off a fantastic debut, bursting through the middle of the home defence before lifting the ball off the advancing Blayney.

The half dozen was racked up on 74 minutes when Allan Jenkins allowed the ball to bounce on the edge of the D, letting Bradley in to score with a rocket of a volley.

Bradley completed his hat-trick and Glenavon's magnificent seven with a header from a Mark Patton cross.

Back to the drawing board for Ballymena boss Glenn Ferguson.

Ballymena United: Blayney, T Kane, McNally, McVey, McBride, Hanley, E Kane, Faulkner, Jenkins, Cushley, Tipton. Subs: Thompson (E Kane 45), Shevlin (McNally 37), Ruddy, Ferguson (Hanley 77) Henderson.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Neill, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Braniff, Elebert. Subs: Lindsay (Elebert 68), Patton (Cooper 75), McGrory, O'Brien, Hamilton (Kelly 75).

Man of match: Eoin Bradley (pictured)

Referee: Tim Marshall

Belfast Telegraph