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Saturday 16th December v. Carrick Rangers (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 14th Jan, 2017 at 20:42

Date: Saturday, 14th January, 2017; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 840;
Ballymena United [0] [3]
Dungannon Swifts [1] [2]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Lee Tavinder; Assistant 1: Richard Storey; Assistant 2: David Anderson; 4th Official: Tim Marshall;
Goals:
[0-1] LOWE, Kris (14 mins), [1-1] OWENS, Kyle (49 mins), [2-1] KANE, Tony (pen 58 mins), [2-2] MITCHELL, Andrew (62 mins), [3-2] LOUGHRAN, Caolan (78 mins)

THREE second half goals were enough to get Ballymena back to winning ways in the league today.
Both teams found it hard to gain a hold on the game from the start in a scrappy opening on an extremely heavy pitch. Cathair Friel had the first opportunity of the match 9 minutes in but his shot was easily saved by Swifts 'keeper Andy Coleman. Five minutes later the deadlock was broken by the away side, with their first real attempt. Paul McElroy worked a ball in from the right and it went right across the box to Kris Lowe who hammered in a half volley off the underside of the bar to give the visitors the lead.
The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute
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From the breakthrough, Dungannon continued to press. Ryan Harpur was given time to turn inside the box, but Kyle Owens was onhand to deflect his effort wide. Harpur did have the ball in the back of the net on 34 minutes when Ross Glendinning spilled a long Lowe shot, but the goal was ruled out for offside. United new boy Joe McKinney impressed and went close not once but three times at the end of the first half. First, he cut inside from the left hand side and got a shot away, but Coleman was able to parry it wide. He went close again in added time when Johnny McMurray found him, but Chris Hegarty beat the debutant to the ball and turned it over the bar. From the corner, Kane's cross was met by McKinney six yards out, but he headed over.
New signing Joe McKinney was impressive and went close from a Tony Kane cross
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Dungannon went close early in the second half through their goalscorer Lowe. McElroy again was the provider and found Lowe on the edge of the box, but he volleyed just wide of Glendinning's goal. At the other end, McKinney again went close as he had an effort deflected out for a corner, and it was from the corner the home side equalised. Tony Kane's cross created a long goalmouth scramble that saw two attempts from Owens blocked. The ball eventually made its way back out to Kane who this time found the head of Owens and he found the back of the net.
Kyle Owens got the first United goal on 49 minutes
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The goal finally got United going and they had three successive chances all blocked as they looked to take the lead. McMurray had an effort saved by the feet of Coleman. McKinney's rebound was blocked on the line and the ball came to Leroy Millar, but his shot was also blocked. On 57 minutes the Sky Blues were awarded a penalty when McMurray reacted well to pick up on a loose ball and he was brought down inside the box. The ever reliable Kane stepped up and slotted it home down the middle to make it 13 out of 14 penalties scored this season.
Tony Kane put United ahead from the penalty spot on 58 minutes
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The lead only lasted only five minutes as a goalkeeping error allowed in form Andrew Mitchell in to level the scores again. Glendinning failed to get much distance on a goal kick and the ball came straight to Mitchell who slid the ball under Glendinning before making sure of the goal after the ball stuck in the goalmouth mud.
Another defensive error almost put Dungannon back in the lead when Leroy Millar's back pass hadn't enough pace on the muddy surface to find Glendinning and instead it was picked up by Harpur, but Glendinning was able to keep his shot out. From the resulting corner, substitute Stefan Lavery sent a free header over the bar. With 12 minutes left on the clock Ballymena regained the lead for the second time in what proved to be the match winner. Kane again provided the assist as his corner was met by the head of Caolan Loughran at the near post, as both Ballymena's centre halves registered goals.
Caolan Loughran sealed the points with a 78th minute winner
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The final ten minutes was mostly Dungannon pressure in looking to find another equaliser but they couldn't quite create a good goal scoring opportunity. In added time Ballymena broke through Friel to kill the game off as he played in McMurray but his shot was stopped by Coleman. It turned out to be the final play of the match as Ballymena held out for an important three points.
Ballymena United travel to the National Stadium to face Linfield in the Danske Bank Premiership next Saturday, kicking off at 3:00pm. For ticket details please read here.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Kyle Owens, Gavin Taggart ( Allan Jenkins 73), Willie Faulkner, Cathair Friel, Jim Ervin, Leroy Millar, Joe McKinney, Johnny McMurray, Caolan Loughran ( 77).

Subs not used: Johnny Flynn, Conor McCloskey, Fra McCaffrey, Adam McCracken.