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Tuesday 15th October v. Crusaders (home) - Toals Co Antrim Shield Rd 2 - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Tuesday, 25th Sep, 2018 at 23:34

Date: Tuesday, 25th September, 2018; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 2079;
Coleraine [1] [2]
Ballymena United [2] [2]
Venue: Coleraine Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Ian McNabb; Assistant 1: George Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Gavin Hegarty; 4th Official: Jamie Robinson;
[0-1] KANE, Tony (7 mins), [1-1] McCAULEY, Darren (20 mins), [1-2] McGRORY, Andrew (32 mins), [2-2] McDONNELL, Stephen (79 mins)

BALLYMENA United and Coleraine shared the points with a 2-2 draw in an entertaining derby at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
In front of another large crowd at both ends for the first derby game of the season, it was The Sky Blues who started the quicker. Inside the first 5 minutes United had three attacks which they couldn't quite turn into chances.
7 minutes in Ballymena deservedly broke the deadlock thanks to a stunning goal from Tony Kane. Andy McGrory did well out wide and found Leroy Millar who in turn found Kane before he unleashed an unstoppable 25 yard shot into the top corner to end a good move.
On 16 minutes United added a numerical player advantage to their scoreline advantage when Coleraine's Eoin Bradley saw red. Bradley seemed unhappy with a well timed tackle from Jim Ervin and clearly hit out at Ervin, with referee Ian McNabb wasting no time in giving Bradley his marching orders.
Despite being down to 10 men Coleraine reacted well and 4 minutes later were level. Darren McCauley embarked on a solo run before cutting inside on the edge of the box and firing a fine effort past Ross Glendinning, who stood no chance.
Coleraine also reacted better to their goal as United struggled to wrestle back control. Jamie McGonigle and Aaron Burns exchanged a one two before the latter fired just wide. On the half hour mark Adam Lecky flicked on a long Jonny Addis throw in towards Leroy Millar but he failed to get any strong connection on the ball which would have turned it home.
However 2 minutes later United were back in front. Stephen O'Donnell got caught out with a poor header back to Chris Johns and Johnny McMurray pounced. His effort was well saved by Johns but from outside the box McGrory drilled a wonderful effort into the bottom corner on the rebound to make it 2-1, a goal he thoroughly deserved.
Shortly after McGrory was at it again, this time with a thumping half volley from distance which Johns got across well to, to make the save. It was almost 3-1 on 37 minutes when a low ball from McGrory to the back post found McMurray, but Johns came out quickly to make the save with his body. As The Braidmen continued to look for a third before half-time Johns was called upon again, this time using an outstretched leg to stop a close range flick on from McMurray. Right on half-time McMurray missed the best chance out of them all to make it three. The striker did well to lift the ball over Johns after another poor O'Donnell header, but from a slight angle he somehow put the ball wide to end the half 2-1.
The second half failed to meet the levels of excitement that the first half produced. 8 minutes in United were forced into a change as an injured Steven McCullough was replaced by Jude Winchester. 15 minutes into the half Johns had to be alert to punch the ball off his line after a swipe from McCauley sent the ball towards his own goal.
3 minutes later Ballymena had strong penalty appeals turned down after Lecky appeared to be clipped inside the box. Seconds after the penalty shout McMurray dragged a shot wide after a piece of pin ball inside the box. Both sides struggled to cause any problems for either 'keeper and from a decent position Kane blasted a free kick over the crossbar. The closest either side came to a goal up until Coleraine's equaliser was when McGonigle saw a shot, following a good solo run, cannon off the bar before going over. Kane almost added his second with a lovely dipping shot from the middle of the goal, only for the ball to go narrowly over.
Inside the final 15 minutes Coleraine began to look threatening and with 11 minutes left the hosts equalised. From a corner, skipper O'Donnell got a free run and then a free header which he sent home via the crossbar.
The final 10 minutes saw a fairly lifeless end to the game, with neither side looking like grabbing a winner, bringing a typically fiery and entertaining derby to an end with the spoils shared.
Ballymena United travel to the National Stadium to face Linfield on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane ( 64 James Knowles 80), Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside, Ryan Mayse ( 54 Willie Faulkner 74), Steven McCullough ( Jude Winchester 54), Andrew McGrory, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar, Johnny McMurray.

Subs not used: Thomas McDermott, Cathair Friel, Kofi Balmer, Reece Glendinning.