IRISH LEAGUE: Moor's the merrier as Glenavon defeat Ballymena

Danske Bank Premiership

Tuesday, 3rd January 2017, 10:06 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm
Glenavon's Greg Moorhouse celebrates scoring at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night. (Photo - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye)

Ballymena United 3, Glenavon 4

Greg Moorhouse hit a hat-trick as Glenavon came from 3-1 behind to defeat Ballymena United 4-3 at the Showgrounds.

Moorehouse’s treble and a header from Ciaran Martyn secured the three points for Glenavon - while United’s Fra McCafferty saw red in the second half after scoring two first half goals for the home side.

Ballymena's Francis Mccaffery celebrates scoring his second goal. (Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye)

Denver Gage was also on target for the Sky Blues but Glenavon ran out winners in the end after a ding-dong battle though both sides will have to stop conceding goals if they want to do anything this season.

United had made five changes from the side that lost 4-2 to Ards on Saturday. Kyle McVey, Allan Jenkins, Willie Faulkner, Jonathan McMurray and Adam McCracken all being left out by manager David Jeffrey.

And the home side got off to the worse possible start as Glenavon took the lead after only 56 seconds on the clock through Moorhouse, the striker heading home as the United defence looked on after a cross from the left by Andy McGrory.

However, it was 1-1 in the ninth minute when McCaffrey neatly shot home following a well worked corner involving Tony Kane and Neil Lowry.

Ballymena's Francis Mccaffery celebrates scoring his second goal. (Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye)

A minute later Glenavon could have gone back in front but Mark Patton’s effort was well blocked by Ross Glendinning in the United goal.

On 16 minutes United’s Lowry had a good chance to score after a mix-up in the Lurgan Blues defence. His shot however drifted wide when he should have done better.

It was 2-1 to United in the 20th minute as McCaffrey got his second of the night. A quick free-kick found Cathair Friel, who crossed for McCaffrey to tap home past Jonathan Tuffey.

United had another chance in the 36th minute. Leroy Millar released Friel who hammered in a shot that Tuffey did well to save.

And the upright saved Glenavon moments later as Kris Lindsay headed a McMurray cross onto his own post. A lucky escape for the defender.

It was 3-1 right before the break however as Denver Gage headed home from a Leroy Millar free-kick - but where was the Glenavon defence?

The same question could be asked of the United back-line in the 47th minute as Ciaran Martyn made it 3-2. The midfielder heading home from a Patton cross.

It was then 3-3 in the 61st minute as Moorhouse got Glenavon’s third, the striker latching onto a flick on by Guy Bates to push the ball past the advancing Glendinning.

Friel had another chance in the 76th minute but his shot was pushed away by Tuffey.

United would regret that miss seconds later as a poor pass from Allan Jenkins was turned into a break for Glenavon and Moorhouse scored to make it 4-3 with what proved to be the winner.

United’s McCaffrey was then sent-off for a reckless lunge on James Singleton as the game threatened to boil over.

In the 86th minute United had a chance to draw level but Friel failed to make contact with a McMurray free-kick.

United had another chance in the 89th minute but Kane’s pile driver was well saved by Tuffey as the Mid-Ulster men held on.

Ballymena: Glendinning, Kane, Gage, Taggart (Jenkins 63mins), Friel, Wallace, Lowry, Ervin, Millar (Faulkner), McCaffrey, Loughran.

Subs: Blayney, Owens, McMurray.

Glenavon: Tuffey, Lindsay (Neill 45mins), Marshall Patton (Cooper), Marron, McGrory, Moorehouse, Martyn, Elebert, Singleton, Bates (Gray).

Subs: Kelly, O’Brien.

Referee: Arnold Hunter