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Glenavon hammer seven past hapless Ballymena United

Eoin Bradley on target
Eoin Bradley on target

Gary Hamilton's Glenavon team thump Glenn Ferguson's Ballymena United but trail Linfield, Cliftonville and Portadown by two points in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Eoin Bradley claimed the first hat-trick of the new Danske Bank Premiership season as Glenavon hammered Ballymena United 7-1 on Wednesday night.

Rhys Marshall opened the scoring for the Lurgan Blues after just two minutes, with David Elebert and Kevin Braniff also scoring before the Derry GAA star grabbed his first on the half hour mark.

Teenage striker Matthew Shevlin pulled one back for Ballymena after the break but the home side offered little resistance at The Showgrounds as Andy Hall made it five before Bradley bagged his hat-trick with goals on 70 and 79 minutes.

Glenavon now trail early pacesetters Linfield, Cliftonville and Portadown by two points after two games as all three registered consecutive victories in four days.

Linfield had to work hard at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena against a plucky Carrick Rangers side but ground out a professional win thanks to strikes from Steven Lowry, Aaron Burns and Kirk Millar.

Burns was lucky to stay on the pitch following a rash challenge on Carrick defender Aaron Smyth, who suffered a stud puncture to his leg in the clash on 84 minutes, and Rangers' substitute Mark Miskimmin could also have seen red for gripping an opponent by the throat in a robust contest.

Davy McDaid opened from the penalty spot for Cliftonville as they easily swept Coleraine aside in the midweek fixtures.

Jay Donnelly followed up with a two-goal salvo before Stevie Garrett made the win comprehensive with six minutes left on the clock.

Portadown were relieved to beat Warrenpoint Town 2-1 at Shamrock Park thanks to goals from Gary Twigg and skipper Keith O'Hara after Daniel Hughes opened for the visitors.

Reigning Champions Crusaders were held to a 2-2 draw at The Oval by Glentoran, who had keeper Elliott Morris sent off after just four minutes.

Substitute goalie Aaron Hogg denied Michael Carvill from the resulting penalty before Jordan Stewart scored a 30-yard screamer to give the home side the lead.

Josh Robinson levelled for the Crues and Stewart claimed his double from twelve yards before Jordan Owens scored on 63 minutes to earn a share of the spoils.

In the West of the Bann derby, Ballinamallard United and Dungannon Swifts played out an underwhelming 0-0 draw at Ferney Park.