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Saturday 24th August v. Glentoran (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 20th Oct, 2018 at 19:18

Date: Saturday, 20th October, 2018; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1363;
Ballymena United [1] [1]
Dungannon Swifts [1] [1]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Lee Tavinder; Assistant 1: Richard Storey; Assistant 2: Andrew Nethery; 4th Official: Diarmuid Harrigan;
[1-0] BALMER, Kofi (2 mins), [1-1] HARPUR, Ryan (17 mins)

BALLYMENA United were left to rue missed chances following a 1-1 draw at home to bottom side Dungannon Swifts.
With confidence high after 4 straight wins it took United only 2 minutes to break the deadlock. Adam Lecky flicked on a Tony Kane corner and Kofi Balmer was waiting at the back post to head home off the underside of the crossbar.
The goal was the start of a good opening quarter of an hour for The Sky Blues who will feel they should've added to Balmer's goal. It was the centre half who was turning provider, picking out Cathair Friel on two occasions. The first was a long, hopeful ball to Friel which was headed wide before minutes later the same combination saw Friel's downward header well saved by the foot of Swift's 'keeper Alex Moore. Balmer wasn't finished there, with a long range shot his next effort but it was well gathered by Moore. United were displaying some nice football and a switch of play from Andy McGrory, helped on by Tony Kane, gave Steven McCullough an opening with a first time shot which he flashed wide.
The visitor's first real chance came fortuitously on 16 minutes. A clearance from Jim Ervin hit Sam Clucas with the ball falling straight into the path of Daniel Hughes, but he could only lift the ball over Ross Glendinning and the crossbar.
With 17 minutes played Dungannon equalised through Ryan Harpur. Tony Kane failed to get the ball fully out of danger and it eventually fell to Kris Lowe whose cross was headed come by Harpur at close range.
After the flurry of chances in the first 20 minutes, the half died down and clear cut chances were at a premium for the remainder of the half. What chances did fall came the way of the hosts. Friel was causing problems down the left hand side and put in a cross for Andy McGrory but his difficult to control volley went wide. Good battling from Leroy Millar helped keep the ball alive and he found McGrory on the edge of the box, with his well drilled shot smartly saved by Moore. Minutes before the break the star man from midweek Lecky showed great close control before firing a dangerous low ball across goal which Chris Hegarty was just about able to put narrowly wide for a corner which came to nothing as the half ended level.
The second period went much the way of the first with United dominant but unable to find a second. Lecky and Knowles combined well early on down the left hand side before the latter teed up Kane, whose shot deflected just over. The next opening also fell the way of Kane. From a free kick around 25 yards out the midfielder's drilled effort was straight at Moore.
The Swifts survived a bit of a goulmouth scramble on 58 minutes after Balmer's header back into the six yard box was eventually headed over the bar on the line for a corner. On the other side of the hour mark McCullough had no option other than to shoot from distance and his daisy cutter shot went inches wide. Kane was replaced by Ryan Mayse with 20 minutes left as United tried to find a killer blow up front.
However at the other end Dungannon were showing they weren't settling for a point with Lecky doing just enough to put Hegarty off at the back post from a corner before Paul McElroy missed a big chance. A good move saw Lowe play in Hughes and he squared the ball across goal for McElroy but as he looked set to finish he was denied by a goal saving block.
Following another Swifts attack Ballymena hit on the counter with McGrory crossing for Millar who set up Friel in a fantastic position but he agonisingly clipped the top of the bar. Both sides had chances to win it late on. For United McGrory headed into the side netting and an acrobatic effort from Lecky sailed over, whilst at the other end Harpur blasted over on the edge of the box.
In added time McElroy called Glendinning into action, with the 'keeper making the save as the game finished 1-1, leaving a feeling of two points dropped for the Braidmen.
It's back to Toals Co Antrim Shield action on Tuesday night, United hosting Ballyclare Comrades at the Showgrounds in the quarter-finals, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane ( Ryan Mayse 67), Jonathan Addis, Cathair Friel, James Knowles ( 69 Reece Glendinning 70), Steven McCullough, Andrew McGrory, Kofi Balmer, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar.

Subs not used: Ben McCauley, Scot Whiteside, Willie Faulkner, Fra Nolan, Connor Farrelly.