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Saturday 22nd December v. Ards (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Tuesday, 13th Nov, 2018 at 23:39

Date: Tuesday, 13th November, 2018; Competition: BetMcLean League Cup - Quarter-Final; Attendance: N/A;
Ards [0] [0]
Ballymena United [0] [1]
Venue: Bangor Fuels Arena; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Shane Andrews; Assistant 1: Gareth Eakin; Assistant 2: Mark O'Brien; 4th Official: Ben McMaster;
Goals:
[0-1] WINCHESTER, Jude (90 mins)

JUDE Winchester scored in added time to secure a place in the BetMcLean League Cup Semi-Finals for Ballymena United, with a 1-0 win over Ards.
United, finalists in the competition for the past two years, travelled to The Bangor Fuels Arena for the quarter final clash and the game took a while to get going as a contest. The first half chance of the match didn't come until the 7th minute, with Josh Kelly's flashed shot heading goalwards, forcing Jonny Addis into a block.
The Sky Blues' first opening fell the way of Adam Lecky, but his tame effort was bread and butter work for Ards 'keeper Jason Mooney. After a reasonably slow start United were starting to find their feet a little after the quarter hour mark, with Cathair Friel blasting well over from distance before Reece Glendinning teed up Leroy Millar on the 18 yard line, with his shot rattling the crossbar. As Ballymena continued to create Friel picked out Lecky, but after a good first touch he fired a powerful shot straight at Mooney. To complete the string of chances for The Braidmen inside a 10 minute period, Steven McCullough found Jude Winchester in a good position, but he flashed his attempt wide from inside the box.
Former Ballymena man Johnny Frazer was causing a few problems when Ards did get forward but after the ball fell to him just outside the box, he could only curl a shot wide. Chances were extremely hard to come by in the last 10 minutes of the half as both sides looked to be missing that needed spark.
Glendinning crossed for McCullough but his header was easily dealt with by Mooney. With 2 minutes left in the half Ballymena missed arguably the best chance of the game to date, as Lecky slid Winchester in on goal. He beat the 'keeper but his shot hadn't the power to beat Adam McAleenan, as the Ards man made the goal line clearance to keep the game scoreless at the break.
Ballymena probably just edged the first half but the second half started much like the first, with plenty of probing but lacking that cutting edge.
Ross Glendinning was called into action early in the half to deny a dangerous David McAllister. A poor clearance from the otherwise reliable Jim Ervin fell to McAllister and he forced Glendinning into tipping the ball over the bar in a fine save. Straight up the other end Mooney also pulled off a decent stop, denying Winchester after a nice turn and shot from the midfielder. A quick counter attack from United after the hour mark, starting with Ervin breaking up an Ards move, ended with Friel teeing up Tony Kane, only for him to place his effort wide.
Just like the end of the first half, chances weren't coming easy for other side for a good portion of the half. However with 15 minutes left Millar managed to find the crossbar for a second time, this time hooking an effort from 12 yards onto the frame of the goal. David Jeffrey looked to the bench for some much needed inspiration, as Johnny McMurray, James Knowles and Andy McGrory all came on at once, replacing Friel, Kane and Reece Glendinning respectively.
Inside the last 10 minutes one of the subs, Knowles, split the defence to find Millar, who in turn could only find the side netting, while at the other end Frazer found Marc McKenna in a golden position, but he blasted over.
With the tie destined for extra time as 3 minutes were added on, it was in the last of those minutes that Ballymena found an unattractive, yet vital winner. The Braidmen broke clear as Lecky found McMurray and United had a two on one situation. Eventually McMurray made his mind up and found Winchester, whose shot took a massive deflection, helping the ball squeeze past Mooney and in.
Ards had a huge chance to level seconds later, but Mark Kelly, who came on for the hosts at half-time, couldn't hit the target.
Ballymena United host Cliftonville in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane ( James Knowles 77), Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside, Cathair Friel ( Johnny McMurray 77), Steven McCullough, Jude Winchester, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar, Reece Glendinning ( Andrew McGrory 77).

Subs not used: Ben McCauley, Fra Nolan, Matthew Shevlin.