Kevin Braniff (12)
Cathair Friel (77)
Kyle Owens (82)

3

Sammy Clingan (02p)

1

Kevin Braniff levelled for the Sky Blues (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)

SKY BLUES END YEAR WITH A ROAR

Ballymena United moved back into the top six following this defeat of Glenavon at The Showgrounds.

However, it didn't bode well for the Sky Blues when they fell behind after just 80 seconds when Kofi Balmer was adjudged to have handled inside the area with Sammy Clingan stepping up to slot home the subsequent spot-kick.

But United levelled through Glenavon old boy Kevin Braniff on 12 minutes who, after collecting Steven McCullough's cross, spotted 'keeper Johnny Tuffey off his line and duly chipped the ball over him.

And David Jeffrey's side might have edged in front after that with a number of decent opportunities in an entertaining first half.

Kyle Owens went close from a Conor McCloskey throw-in, Matthew Shevlin tested Tuffey with a volley while Tony Kane saw a close range effort turned to safety at the near post.

Braniff then almost doubled his account with a curling effort cleared off the line by James Singleton while, for the visitors, Rhys Marshall sent a shot over from a Clingan free-kick before Andrew Mitchell had an attempt tipped away from Bobby Burns' curling ball.

This pattern of chances continued after the break but, with less than a quarter-of-an-hour to go, United finally gained the upper hand through Cathair Friel with a powerful header from a Kane corner.

Then, five minutes after that, they made sure of the points when Owens slotted under Tuffey from another Kane delivery.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Kane, Owens, McAlorum, Friel, Braniff, McCloskey, Shevlin, Balmer, Ervin, McCullough subs Friars (not used), McCaffrey (not used), McKinney (not used), McNeill (not used), Brennan (not used)

Glenavon: Tuffey, Burns, Doyle, Daniels, Marshall, Mitchell, Sykes, Marron, Clingan, Cooper, Singleton subs Kelly (not used), Griffin (not used), McGrory (replaced Daniels 70), Foley (replaced Cooper 82), Jenkins (replaced Clingan 77)

Referee: Raymond Hetherington

Attendance: 1228

Tags:  Ballymena United  Glenavon