Ballymena United 3
Glenavon 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


Ballymena United
3 - 1
Glenavon 

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, May 1st, 2021
Ballymena Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Paul McElroy (60)
Shay McCartan (pen.) (70)
Kofi Balmer (80)
Calvin Dougas (87)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Gary Hamilton

Starting Eleven
18. Jordan Williamson
3. Ross Redman
19. Kofi Balmer
21. Jim Ervin
20. Trai Hume
26. Joshua Kelly
17. Andrew McGrory
23. Leroy Millar
15. Shay McCartan
16. Ryan Waide
14. Paul McElroy
Craig Hyland .31
Andrew Doyle .6
Daniel Purkis .9
Peter Campbell .10
Greg Moorhouse .12
Michael O'Connor .17
Matthew Fitzpatrick .19
Calvin Douglas .24
James Singleton .27
Robert Garrett .28
Sean Ward .30

Bench
4. Jonathan Addis
10. James Knowles
6. Owen McKeown
27. Sean Graham
28. Ben Wylie
8. Ryan Harpur
32. Joe McCready
Calum Birney .4
Conan Byrne .7
Jack O'Mahony .21
Robbie Norton .22
Joshua Doyle .26
Gareth McCaffrey .32
Owen Taylor .41

Substitutions
Owen McKeown for Andrew McGrory (82)
Ryan Harpur for Ryan Waide (86)
Ben Wylie for Leroy Millar (86)
Conan Byrne for Greg Moorhouse (56)
Gareth McCaffrey for Daniel Purkis (56)
Robbie Norton for Michael O'Connor (73)

Cautions
Kofi Balmer (51)
Joshua Kelly (64)
Greg Moorhouse (22)
Daniel Purkis (33)
James Singleton (64)
Conan Byrne (71)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Keith Kennedy (Referee)
Gareth Eakin & Gavin Hegarty (Assistants)
Glenn Buchanan (Fourth Official)




Match Report


Ballymena United kept their European hopes very much alive with an impressive 3-1 win over fellow play-off chasers Glenavon at The Showgrounds.

United made no changes to the starting team that progressed to the second round of the Irish Cup in the week, with Jonny Addis returning to the bench after injury.

As Ballymena looked to put a poor recent record against Glenavon to bed, after a very quiet start to the game, the first chance came the host's way as Leroy Millar fired over after a quick break from Shay McCartan. Glenavon's first chance fell the way of Daniel Purkis, but his powerful header was well held by Jordan Williamson who had to move to his left to make the save, but those were the only chances of an eventless first half hour.

After Glenavon had a loud penalty appeal for handball quickly turned down by Keith Kennedy earlier in the half, The Lurgan Blues had a second appeal on thirty-three minutes even more emphatically waved away as Purkis found himself booked for diving. Glenavon had a good chance to work Williamson five minutes from the break with a free kick on the edge of the box, but Michael O'Connor's drilled effort went straight into the wall, and seconds later the men in orange found their voices again for another handball appeal in the box, but again the official's were uninterested.

In the final minute of the first half the Sky Blues came as close as they had done with two chances for McCartan. First, he was picked out by Andy McGrory, but his header was well saved by Craig Hyland. Not long after, McCartan had a free kick to end the half, and it was well tipped round the post, as the half ended goalless.

The second half followed the pattern of the first, with little happening at either end early on. Robert Garrett lined one up for the away side, but it flew well over, but on sixty minutes United took the lead with a moment of magic from Paul McElroy. Sean Ward tried to guide the ball back to his goalkeeper, but just like during the week, McElroy intercepted, and from an almost impossible angle, Paul McElroy stunningly sent the ball home off the far post.

The game had been threatening to boil over for a while and four minutes after the goal things did reach breaking point when James Singleton appeared to kick out at Josh Kelly, and after some scuffles Kelly and Singleton both saw yellow.

Ballymena had the chance to widen the gap ten minutes after their opener when they were awarded a penalty after Andrew Doyle brought down Kofi Balmer at the back post. After a slight delay, McCartan stepped up again and despite Hyland getting a hand to it, the penalty was too well into the bottom corner to keep out as Shay McCartan's fifteenth of the season made it two.

Ballymena made sure of a vital three points with a third ten minutes from time through Balmer. Ross Redman added yet another assist to his tally as his free kick was met by Kofi Balmer, who looped a top drawer header in at the near post.

Glenavon pulled one back three minutes from the end with a screamer from Calvin Douglas. After a few passes Douglas decided to try his luck and from twenty-five yards he unleashed an unstoppable effort past Williamson that crashed off the crossbar and in.
That was to be the final act of note in the game as Ballymena secured a crucial three points in the race for Europe with a fine second half performance.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (www.ballymenaunitedfc.com)



Squad Statistics (as at May 1st, 2021)


2020-2021 All Time
Age
Jordan Williamson (GK)25 21 - 37 -
Trai Hume19 312312
Kofi Balmer20 1541028
Jim Ervin35 17 - 2703
Ross Redman31 353353
Andrew McGrory29 10 - 8420
Joshua Kelly22 322644
Leroy Millar25 15218226
Ryan Waide21 312312
Shay McCartan26 33153315
Paul McElroy26 35133513
Ben Wylie (sub)18 17 - 17 -
Owen McKeown (sub)23 11 - 11 -
Ryan Harpur (sub)32 13 - 392



League Table (as at May 1st, 2021)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 33 22 4 7 70
2. Glentoran 33 18 9 6 63
3. Coleraine 33 18 8 7 62
4. Cliftonville 33 16 8 9 56
5. Larne 33 15 10 8 55
6. Crusaders 33 16 5 12 53
7. Glenavon 33 14 10 9 52
8. BALLYMENA UTD 33 13 7 13 46
9. Portadown 33 8 6 19 30
10. Warrenpoint Town 33 6 9 18 27
11. Carrick Rangers 34 5 8 21 23
12. Dungannon Swifts 34 4 4 26 16