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Tuesday 18th December v. Linfield (home) - Toals Co Antrim Shield SF - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Saturday, 6th Oct, 2018 at 18:14

Date: Saturday, 6th October, 2018; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1005;
Ballymena United [1] [3]
Newry City [0] [0]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Shane Andrews; Assistant 1: George Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Gavin Hegarty; 4th Official: Niall Gallagher;
Goals:
[1-0] MILLAR, Leroy (12 mins), [2-0] FRIEL, Cathair (63 mins), [3-0] McGRORY, Andrew (90 mins)

BALLYMENA United marked their return to Ballymena Showgrounds with a comfortable 3-0 win over Newry City.
In United's long awaited return to Warden Street on the impressive looking new surface, good chances for either side in the first half were very few and far between, with the first opening almost falling the way of Andy McGrory. A drilled cross from Leroy Millar was almost tapped home by McGrory, only for Darren King to clear the ball off McGrory's boot. In the 10th minute Newry goalkeeper Andy Coleman pulled off two incredible saves to deny first Kofi Balmer and then James Knowles. From a corner a bullet header from Balmer was wonderfully tipped over the crossbar by Coleman. From the resulting corner Knowles picked up a loose ball just outside the box but his powerful shot was also put over for a corner by Coleman.
From the third corner The Sky Blues took the lead with the first goal at The Showgrounds this season. Millar received the ball back after his initial short corner, and from outside the box on the right hand side he curled a beautiful effort off the underside of the bar and in.
Ross Glendinning's first moment of real concern came after a cross from James Walker almost curled into the top corner, with Glendinning happy to see it drift just over. On 18 minutes good link up play between Ryan Mayse and Steven McCullough end with the latter finding Adam Lecky who saw his shot deflect just wide. At the other end a deep cross from Stephen Hughes was headed on to Stefan Lavery but he couldn't turn quick enough to stop the ball going well wide. The final 15 minutes of the half were especially quiet. Ballymena's only attempt saw Mayse with a shot on the stretch from the edge of the box which Coleman easily gathered.
Ross Glendinning's first moment of real concern came after a cross from James Walker almost curled into the top corner, with Glendinning happy to see it drift just over. On 18 minutes good link up play between Ryan Mayse and Steven McCullough end with the latter finding Adam Lecky who saw his shot deflect just wide. At the other end a deep cross from Stephen Hughes was headed on to Stefan Lavery but he couldn't turn quick enough to stop the ball going well wide. The final 15 minutes of the half were especially quiet. Ballymena's only attempt saw Mayse with a shot on the stretch from the edge of the box which Coleman easily gathered.
The second half started much like the first with neither side able to take control of the game. Montgomery had a chance from a similar position to his shot at the end the first half but this time he flashed it well wide. 7 minutes in some nice play from Mayse allowed him to hit a low ball across goal which just needed a touch from Cathair Friel, but the forward couldn't sort his feet quick enough to get that vital touch. Either side of the hour mark Millar had a long range effort saved before James Walker couldn't hit the target with a similar attempt.
On 63 minutes The Braidmen gave themselves a cushion with Friel making it 2-0. The goal was made by Lecky who displayed some fine footwork before having his shot blocked on the line, but Friel was on hand to fire home the rebound from close range.
Newry tried to react to going two behind with a lot more decent play in possession, but troubling Glendinning was proving difficult. Shortly after Mayse had sent a half volley over for United, John Boyle dragged a shot inches past the post for the visitors. Newry tried to react to going two behind with a lot more decent play in possession, but troubling Glendinning was proving difficult. Shortly after Mayse had sent a half volley over for United, John Boyle dragged a shot inches past the post for the visitors.
On the 90th minute Ballymena wrapped up victory as McGrory marked his first home game with a goal. Great feet from McMurray saw him tee up sub Willie Faulkner who had a shot blocked, but just like for United's second someone was there for the rebound, with McGrory sending the ball home past Coleman.
A scoreline that was probably harsh on Newry but its three points and a clean sheet for Ballymena to kick off a host of games at The Showgrounds in the coming weeks.
Ballymena United are at home again on Tuesday evening as they host Harland & Wolff Welders in the third round of the BetMcLean League Cup, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Scot Whiteside, Ryan Mayse ( Jude Winchester 69), Cathair Friel ( Willie Faulkner 86), James Knowles, Steven McCullough, Andrew McGrory, Kofi Balmer, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar ( Johnny McMurray 75).

Subs not used: Thomas McDermott, Tony Kane, Conor Quigley, Reece Glendinning.