ANDREW BURNS: Split opinion over red card as Glenavon beat Ballymena

Ballymena United's Andrew Burns gets a red card from referee Steven Gregg in Lurgan against Glenavon. Pic by Pacemaker.
Ballymena United's Andrew Burns gets a red card from referee Steven Gregg in Lurgan against Glenavon. Pic by Pacemaker.

A four-goal margin of victory left little need to debate the final merits of Glenavon’s success but Andrew Burns’ first-half dismissal dominated and divided opinion.

The Ballymena United centre-back was sent off for a challenge on Mark Sykes in the closing moments of a first half at Mourneview Park in which the vistors had enjoyed the greater attacking threat.

Falling to 10 men ultimately marked Friday night’s turning point as Glenavon proved commanding after the interval when goals from Aaron Harmon, Josh Daniels, Stephen Murray and Andy Hall secured three points and signalled a first defeat of the Danske Bank Premiership campaign for United.

Both camps remained resolute over the red card but presented contrasting viewpoints.

“I thought it was a sending off, that he was reckless and out of control,” said Glenavon first-team coach Kris Lindsay. “It doesn’t matter if you get the ball, it’s a bad tackle and he had to go.

“They were definitely on top at that point, the sending off changed it as we started reasonably well then Ballymena grew into the game.

“In the second half we were really professional and showed exactly how you play against 10 men, we moved the ball, made the pitch big and looked clinical.”

United boss David Jeffrey highlighted his frustration.

“From my viewpoint I thought it was a tremendous tackle,” said Jeffrey. “I thought the ball was won strongly but fairly and I really do hope that the referee has got it correct.

“He gave an explanation at half-time and used the word dangerous as one of the adjectives.

“I don’t want to see anyone get booked never mind sent off but if you are going to say ‘here are the laws of the game and I will adhere to them rigidly’ then there should be a consistency in the decision-making.

“I felt there were inconsistencies.

“We were the better side up to that point, so it’s frustrating.”