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Saturday 28th April v. Crusaders (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 6th Aug, 2016 at 16:51
Updated Saturday, 6th Aug, 2016 at 20:42

Date: Saturday, 6th August, 2016; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1479;
Crusaders [4] [6]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: Seaview; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Andrew Davey; Assistant 1: Mark O'Brien; Assistant 2: Paul Berry; 4th Official: Peter McGrath;
[1-0] HEATLEY, Paul (17 mins), [2-0] OWENS, Jordan (18 mins), [3-0] OWENS, Jordan (20 mins), [4-0] WHYTE, Gavin (32 mins), [5-0] HEATLEY, Paul (63 mins), [6-0] OWENS, Jordan (pen 90 mins)

BALLYMENA United put up an awful defensive display as they were hammered 6-0 at Crusaders today.
The first chance for United fell to Cathair Friel from a Johnny McMurray flick but his shot went straight to Crusaders keeper Sean O'Neill. A series of free kicks followed for both sides, neither team able to create a clear chance from them. Crusaders opened the scoring after Billy Joe Burns made a long run up the right side, crossed to Paul Heatley who passed the slipping Kyle Owens and slotted the ball home. A minute later United were two down as Paul Heatley sent a ball back towards the box from the line, setting Jordan Owens up with an easy finish. Crusaders were three ahead before the 20 minute mark as an unmarked Jordan Owens grabbed his second of the day at the back post.
It could've been four on 25 minutes as David Cushley sent a shot flying towards the goal, but it dipped just over the crossbar. With half an hour gone Jordan Forsythe sent the ball out to Heatley, who sent the ball across the face of goal and Owens just couldn't get enough on it, Alan Blayney getting his hands on the ball. On 32 minutes Owens crossed to Gavin Whyte who was on the penalty spot and easily scored past Blayney to put Crusaders four ahead.
Michael Smith clearing the ball
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Moments later Johnny McMurray took a shot from around 25 yards but the ball went just over. United almost scored on the half time whistle, Billy Joe Burns clearing the ball after Sean O'Neill couldn't hold onto the shot from the edge of the box.
Johnny McMurray in action
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Manager David Jeffrey sent the United players out of the changing room very early for the second half. Within 2 minutes of the restart Johnny McMurray had flicked the ball past O'Neill but it went wide of the net. On 53 minutes Michael Smith sent a shot in but O'Neill was on hand to make the save. United were piling on the pressure but some good defence by the home side and excellent keeping by O'Neill were making it difficult for the visitors, McMurray and Gary Thompson both coming close to scoring.
At the other end David Cushley sent a cross into the box but Blayney got up to cut it out and make the catch. The first change of the game followed shortly, Leroy Millar coming on to replace Fra McCaffrey just before the hour mark. The scorer of the first goal of the day hit the spot again with 63 minutes gone, once again given the freedom of the park to finish.
Cathair Friel chasing down the ball
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Several more substitutions were made by the Braidmen, first Johnny Flynn was replaced by Jason Johnston on 72 minutes, then 5 minutes later Eoin Kane came on for Conor McCloskey. With With 81 minutes on the clock United had their best chance of the game, Allan Jenkins hitting the post.
The last say of the game went to Crusaders as Jordan Owens completed his hat-trick via the penalty spot.
Jordan Owens claims the match ball
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United will need to make a massive improvement before the first home league game of the season when Glenavon visit on Wednesday night, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Paul Irwin
Ballymena United Team:
Alan Blayney, Jim Ervin, Kyle Owens, Johnny Flynn ( Jason Johnston 72), Michael Smith, Fra McCaffrey ( Leroy Millar 59), Gary Thompson, Allan Jenkins, Conor McCloskey ( Eoin Kane 77), Cathair Friel, Johnny McMurray.

Subs not used: Ross Glendinning, Darren Henderson.