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Saturday 7th July v. HW Welders (away) - Friendly - k.o: TBC

Uploaded Saturday, 31st Dec, 2016 at 18:32

Date: Saturday, 31st December, 2016; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 644;
Ards [1] [4]
Ballymena United [2] [2]
Venue: Bangor Fuels Arena; Kick-Off: 14:00;
Referee: Evan Boyce; Assistant 1: Stephen Bell; Assistant 2: Stephen Donaldson; 4th Official: Peter McGrath;
[0-1] HOGG, Aaron (og 9 mins), [1-1] McCOMB, Carl (25 mins), [1-2] McMURRAY, Johnny (42 mins), [2-2] CHERRY, Kyle (46 mins), [3-2] FRIARS, Emmet (79 mins), [4-2] LIGGETT, Gary (84 mins)

BALLYMENA United suffered a 4-2 defeat to Ards at the Bangor Fuels Arena in another high scoring meeting between the clubs.
Ballymena started the game far better as Ards struggled to get going, and Fra McCaffrey called Aaron Hogg into action just 4 minutes in, but the Ards stopper saved easily. The same couldn't be said after 11 minutes when Hogg's own goal gave United the lead. Good play down the left saw the ball fall to Willie Faulkner, who hit the post from the edge of the box, but the fall rebounded towards Hogg who could only bundle the ball over his own line.
Willie Faulkner made the second goal, although Ards 'keeper Hogg pushed the ball into the net
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Ards' first chance of note came 18 minutes in when ex- United man Michael Ruddy had a go from outside the box, but Ross Glendinning easily gathered. The home side went close again not long after when a David McAllister cross found Emmet Friars unmarked at the back post, but Glendinning came out well to smother the chance.
On 28 minutes, Ards found an equaliser courtesy of Carl McComb. Craig McMillen swung a cross in from the right and McComb out-jumped Jim Ervin to head home the leveller past a diving Glendinning.
Ballymena went in search of the lead again and a corner from Leroy Millar just missed the head of Tony Kane and then Kyle Owens with only a touch needed for the ball to hit the back of the net. However on 43 minutes, the Sky Blues did regain the lead through Johnny McMurray. Faulkner was again involved, playing in McMurray who eventually got the ball under control and dispatched a finish by Hogg at his near post.
Johnny McMurray put United ahead again just before half-time
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United failed to ever really get into the second half with lacklustre football as Ards were the far brighter side right from the off. Inside the first minute of the restart, Ards levelled for a second time. A throw in started a neat move and the ball came to Kyle Cherry who placed the ball just out of Glendinning's reach to give Ards the ideal start.
The game was almost completely turned around shortly after as Ards forward Keke ran clear but could only find the side netting with his effort. Ballymena's only real chances at the start of the half came from long range efforts from Faulkner and Cathair Friel, but neither shots caused Hogg any issues. With 20 minutes left, Ards went close to leading when Gareth Tommons popped up in the box with a header, but he sent it just wide of the United goal.
David Jeffrey made a double switch to try and ignite Ballymena, with Eoin Kane and Gavin Taggart being introduced, and Kane instantly made an impact as United hit the bar in an odd fashion. A cross from Eoin Kane was deflected into the air before the ball dropped onto the bar when Hogg had anticipated the ball going over the bar. With 10 minutes left, Ards took the lead for the first time. A corner was sent to the back post and Ards skipper Friars turned it home on the line.
Things could've and should've got worse for United 3 minutes later when substitute Gary Liggett was put through on goal but only managed to hit the woodwork. The ball then rebounded to McComb who had virtually an open goal, but he somehow put his effort wide. However the home side did put the game to bed after 84 minutes. McCaffrey couldn't quite get a touch on an Eoin Kane cross for United and straight up the other end a long ball put former United man Liggett through, who made no mistake in giving Ards a 4-2 lead with a cool finish. The final 5 minutes yielded no chances as Ballymena ended a good 2016 on a sour note.
David Jeffrey was disappointed to lose the last game of 2016
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Ballymena United will hope to bounce back as they get 2017 off to a start with a Danske Bank Premiership game against Glenavon at Ballymena Showgrounds on Tuesday 3rd January, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Kyle Owens, Allan Jenkins ( Gavin Taggart 74), Willie Faulkner ( Eoin Kane 74), Cathair Friel, Jim Ervin, Leroy Millar, Jonny McMurray, Fra McCaffrey, Adam McCracken ( Darren Henderson 82).

Subs not used: Alan Blayney, Caolan Loughran.