Ballymena United 3
Glenavon 4
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
3 - 4

League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,060
7:45 PM Kick-off

Francis McCaffrey (9)
Francis McCaffrey (20)
Denver Gage (45)
Greg Moorhouse (1)
Ciaran Martyn (47)
Greg Moorhouse (61)
Greg Moorhouse (77)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Gary Hamilton

Starting Eleven
1. Ross Glendinning
21. Jim Ervin
6. Denver Gage
2. Tony Kane
34. Caolan Loughran
17. Daniel Wallace
29. Francis McCaffrey
23. Leroy Millar
8. Gavin Taggart
14. Cathair Friel
20. Neil Lowry
Jonathan Tuffey .1
Kris Lindsay .6
Rhys Marshall .8
Mark Patton .12
Caolan Marron .15
Andrew McGrory .17
Greg Moorhouse .20
Ciaran Martyn .24
David Elebert .25
James Singleton .27
Guy Bates .28

18. Alan Blayney
4. Kyle Owens
12. William Faulkner
10. Allan Jenkins
27. Jonathan McMurray
Kyle Neill .3
Simon Kelly .4
Joel Cooper .9
Declan O'Brien .19
James Gray .34

Jonathan McMurray for Neil Lowry (25)
Allan Jenkins for Gavin Taggart (64)
William Faulkner for Leroy Millar (76)
Kyle Neill for Kris Lindsay (46)
Joel Cooper for Mark Patton (76)
James Gray for Guy Bates (76)

Leroy Millar (43)
Jim Ervin (80)
Cathair Friel (81)
Kyle Neill (65)
Andrew McGrory (80)
James Singleton (86)

Red Cards
Francis McCaffrey (80)
Match Officials

Arnold Hunter (Referee)
David Anderson & Jarlath McElholm (Assistants)
Declan Hassan (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United threw away a two goal lead as they lost 4-3 to Glenavon in the first game of the New Year.

The first half got off to a frantic start as the visitors took the lead with less than a minute on the clock. A cross from James Singleton found Greg Moorhouse who jumped highest to head home past Ross Glendinning, who couldn't get a strong enough hand on the ball to keep it out. United almost hit back instantly as Neil Lowry crossed to the head of Francis McCaffrey, but his effort went over the bar.

On 9 minutes, Francis McCaffrey did give Ballymena an equaliser. Tony Kane played a corner short to Lowry, whose cross was flicked home beautifully by McCaffrey at the near post.

The half continued with end to end action with both sides happy to play an open game. Glenavon could've regained the lead through Mark Patton, but Glendinning did well to come out and block his attempt. It was then United's turn to go close. A long kick from Glendinning was poorly dealt with by David Elebert and the ball fell kindly for Lowry who should've scored, but instead flashed his shot wide.

Ballymena did go ahead in the 20th minute when Francis McCaffrey netted his second of the game. A quick free kick eventually made its way to Cathair Friel who did well to get a ball into the box, and it was again met at the near post by McCaffrey who scored his fifth league goal of the season.

Ballymena were forced into an early sub on 25 minutes with the injured Lowry being replaced by Johnny McMurray. McMurray's strike partner Friel almost made it three on 36 minutes when he was played in by an inch perfect Leroy Millar ball, but Jonathan Tuffey was on hand to stop his effort. 2 minutes later, McMurray fashioned a cross which came off Glenavon's Kris Lindsay and onto his own post, before fortunately going out for a corner.

Ballymena grabbed their third in a busy first half in added time. Leroy Millar delivered a perfect free kick and Denver Gage got his head on the end of it to power the ball past Tuffey as United ended a great half on a high.

Just like in the first half, Glenavon netted an early goal at the start of the second. Patton whipped in a deadly ball from the left and found Ciaran Martyn who placed the ball into the corner of the net with a low header.

Glenavon kicked on in a quest for the equaliser as United struggled to create. A Glenavon corner on the hour mark caused a scramble in the box that United eventually cleared and Friel couldn't quite manage a shooting opportunity straight down the other end. One minute later the away side did have a leveller as Moorhouse scored his second. The Sky Blue defence wasn't alert enough to the danger as Bates flicked the ball into the path of Greg Moorhouse who calmly finished past Glendinning.

Inside the final 20 minutes Ballymena finally created chances as Friel called Glenavon skipper Tuffey into two good saves. Firstly Friel did well to take a long ball down and fired at Tuffey who made the save, and then a counter attack from McCaffrey played in Friel again, but Tuffey again stopped him with an even better save. Those saves proved vital as on 77 minutes Glenavon completed a dramatic turnaround. Substitute Allan Jenkins poorly gave the ball away and it eventually came to Greg Moorhouse who beat Glendinning to the ball to slot home his hat trick goal and Glenavon's fourth.

3 minutes later United's brace scorer McCaffrey received a straight red for a poor challenge on Singleton. The tackle and sending off caused heated confrontations between players and management as Jim Ervin picked up a yellow card.

Ballymena's 10 men tried to find a late equaliser and went close as McMurray fizzed a free kick into a dangerous area but the ball narrowly alluded Friel. Then in added time a Kane volley from the edge of the box was well saved as Glenavon held out to get Ballymena's new year off to a bad start.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at January 3rd, 2017)

2016-2017 All Time
Ross Glendinning (GK)23 17 - 17 -
Jim Ervin31 30 - 1082
Denver Gage29 52493
Tony Kane29 291421826
Caolan Loughran21 181201
Daniel Wallace22 18 - 18 -
Francis McCaffrey23 115115
Leroy Millar21 231412
Gavin Taggart32 7 - 1826
Cathair Friel23 30173017
Neil Lowry23 7 - 593
Allan Jenkins (sub)35 29523448
William Faulkner (sub)26 2645910
Jonathan McMurray (sub)22 24102410

League Table (as at January 3rd, 2017)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 24 17 5 2 33 56
2. Linfield 24 14 7 3 35 49
3. Cliftonville 24 14 4 6 14 46
4. BALLYMENA UTD 24 12 3 9 0 39
5. Coleraine 24 10 7 7 7 37
6. Glenavon 23 8 9 6 1 33
7. Dungannon 24 8 8 8 7 32
8. Glentoran 24 7 7 10 -6 28
9. Ards 24 7 5 12 -7 26
10. Ballinamallard Utd 23 5 4 14 -21 19
11. Carrick 24 3 5 16 -34 14
12. Portadown 24 5 2 17 -29 5

* - Table split into two divisions of six.