Published Friday, 29 August 2014
Glenavon celebrate after scoring against Ballymena United on Friday. (© Presseye)
Bates, who is a firm favourite among the Mourneview Park fans, came off the bench midway through the second half to a rousing reception and his goals and presence will be missed by Glenavon this season.
The Lurgan Blues, who defeated Ballymena in May to lift the Irish Cup, got the better of Glenn Ferguson's side in a game which saw both teams reduced to ten men.
Shane McCabe and Allan Jenkins both saw red on 67 minutes after being involved in a tussle.
Glenavon surged ahead on five minutes with skipper Kris Lindsay making his presence felt in the box when he came up for a corner to glance home at the near post from Kyle Neill's delivery.
Ballymena were always in the game with David Cushley providing most of the threat in the box but he was unable to covert chances into goals.
The second half saw Ballymena enjoy plenty of possession with Cushley again going close before Glenavon doubled their lead on 65 minutes, again from a corner. This time is was Rhys Marshall who go the touch after keeper Nelson failed to clear Neill's teasing corner.
After McCabe and Jenkins got their marching orders the game opened up and United pulled a goal back on 85 minutes with Cushley beating Blayney.
That set up a frantic finish but Glenavon held on for a hard fought three points which takes them into joint second place, just two behind leaders Ballymena.
Meanwhile neither Coleraine or Portadown could find a way through as defences remained on top in a rather low key scoreless draw at The Showgrounds.
Ronnie McFall's side finished the game with ten men after Keith O'Hara was sent off with just four minutes to go.
The first effort on goal came from Portadown's Sean Mackle as he dragged a shot across the face of goal and soon after Joe McNeill flashed a shot over the bar for Coleraine.
The home side enjoyed more of the possession in the first 45 minutes without creating much in the final third.
Portadown keeper David Miskelly kept his side in the game with two key saves, first keeping out a shot from Shane McGinty and then smartly following up to save Ruairi Harkin's effort with his right boot.
The visitors had a great chance to hit the front on 52 minutes when Mark McAllister broke clear but his parting shot failed to test Doherty in the home goal.
The Ports did have the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside and they went close again with Garry Breen seeing his header tipped over the bar by Doherty.
Despite the dismissal of O'Hara, Coleraine were unable to mark the extra man count and in the end a draw was a fair result.
Danske Bank Premiership Results:
Coleraine 0 - 0 Portadown
Glenavon 2 - 1 Ballymena United
Glenavon: Kris Lindsay (05), Rhys Marshall (65)
Ballymena: David Cushley (85)
© UTV News