Braniff strike enough to see off Mallards

Striker Kevin Braniff was on target for Glenavon in thje win over Ballinamallard
Striker Kevin Braniff was on target for Glenavon in thje win over Ballinamallard

Kevin Braniff finally hit the net for Glenavon to secure another three points for his new club.

Andy Kilmartin filled the gap left by Shane McCabe’s absence through suspension, while Whitey Anderson made four changes to the Ballinamallard side beaten 4-0 by Cliftonville.

For the early part of the first half it was like the Alamo for Glenavon as they tested Fergal Murphy, firstly when Braniff curled a shot wide, then Ciaran Martyn’s scuffed shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

At the other end Alan Blayney made a great save to deny Johnny Lafferty after he was fed by Stuart Hutchinson.

Glenavon looked most likely to score in the first half and Martyn was denied by a combination if both Murphy and Liam McMenamin on the line.

Andy McGrory shot wide after Martyn and Ciaran Caldwell had efforts blocked, and Braniff warmed Murphy’s gloves with a 30-yard drive.

At the other end Lafferty was unfortunate to miss, shooting over from outside the penalty area when Kyle Neill slipped.

Braniff finally broke his duck five minutes into the second period. Gareth McKeown’s long throw was flicked on by Kris Lindsay to where the former Portadown marksman drilled it home.

He nearly scored a second when a shot from distance went wide, but before that the Mallards came close to levelling the scores up when Lafferty’s free kick was wide of the Mark.

And he forced Blayney into another super stop after being put through on goal, McKeown clearing up the loose ball.

Eight minutes from the end Ballinamallard did have the ball in the net but Ryan Campbell’s goal was ruled out for offside.

GLENAVON: Blayney, McKeown, Neill, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bradley, Caldwell, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn. Subs: McCallion, Murphy (Neill 52), Hamilton (Braniff 87), Foley, McNamee.

BALLINAMALLARD UNITED: Murphy, McMenamin, Dykes, Carters, Stafford, Kee, Martin, Hutchinson, Elding, Lafferty, Currie. Subs: McCusker, Beacom (Dykes 53), Foy (Hutchinson 64), Campbell (Elding 72), Crilly.

REFEREE: Colin Burns