Irish Premiership: Glenavon and Ballymena secure big wins as battle for seventh continues

Glenavon players celebrate
Glenavon players celebrate after one of their four goals against Portadown

Glenavon and Ballymena United continued their battle for seventh place in the Premiership with comfortable 4-1 and 4-0 wins over Portadown and Carrick.

Glenavon remain three points clear of the Sky Blues in the contest for the final berth in the end-of-season play-offs and a shot at European football.

Matthew Fitzpatrick scored twice as the Lurgan Blues came from a goal down to win the mid-Ulster derby.

Shay McCartan grabbed a double in Ballymena's convincing win at Carrick.

Trai Hume headed in from Ross Redman's corner on the stroke of half-time and McCartan made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute.

Referee Ross Dunlop adjudged that Steven Gordon had brought down Paul McElroy inside the area and subsequently showed Gordon a second yellow card followed by a red.

With one minute remaining, McCartan cut inside and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner past Aaron Hogg and four minutes into added time substitute Joe McCready rifled a low shot into the net for the fourth.

Shay McCartan fires a low drive past Aaron Hogg for Ballymena's third against Carrick

Matthew makes his mark

At Mourneview Park, the home side dominated the first half but were denied by a string of fine stops by Portadown's on-loan keeper Jacob Carney.

Those saves proved even more important as Portadown grabbed the lead against the run of play on 43 minutes when Lee Bonis latched onto a long ball forward which caught out the home defence and the striker fired home a first-time shot.

Barely had the celebrations subsided until Glenavon were level a minute later when Peter Campbell's corner was met with a thumping header by Andy Doyle.

Glenavon went in front on the hour when Peter Campbell's cross was knocked down by Danny Purkis and Fitzpatrick was on hand to steer home from close range.

Fitzpatrick extended Glenavon's lead on 75 minutes with a low curling effort through a ruck of players past the unsighted Carney.

And Fitzpatrick was also involved in Glenavon's fourth when his low cross was turned into his own net at full stretch by Portadown defender Adam McCallum.

Matthew Fitzpatrick grabs his second goal of the game for Glenavon against Portadown

Late drama at Stangmore Park

There was late drama at Stangmore Park where Brandon Doyle's injury time goal gave Warrenpoint Town a 1-0 win over Dungannon Swifts.

A low-key game was settled when substitute referee Steven Gregg - who came on for injured official Diarmuid Harrigan in the second half - adjudged that Cahal McGinty had brought down Ryan Swan.

After a lengthy delay, Doyle's spot kick was saved by Swifts keeper Roy Carroll but when the ball was crossed back into the penalty area, Doyle was on hand to force the ball home from close range.

Brandon Doyle wins it for Warrenpoint in injury-time after his penalty was saved

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