Home News Fixtures Tables Squad Commercial Info History Shop Under 20s
Saturday 24th August v. Glentoran (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 8th Dec, 2018 at 20:17

Date: Saturday, 8th December, 2018; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 306;
Warrenpoint Town [1] [2]
Ballymena United [2] [4]
Venue: Milltown Playing Fields; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Steven Gregg; Assistant 1: Ken Ross; Assistant 2: Neill Gillespie; 4th Official: Peter McGrath;
[1-0] NORTON, Robert (pen 34 mins), [1-1] FRIEL, Cathair (37 mins), [1-2] FRIEL, Cathair (45 mins), [1-3] LECKY, Adam (47 mins), [1-4] KNOWLES, James (78 mins), [2-4] GRIFFIN, Mark (86 mins)

BALLYMENA United made it 10 straight wins to stay top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a 4-2 victory over Warrenpoint Town on Saturday afternoon.
Ballymena started brightly in a blustery Co. Down and almost took the lead within 2 minutes. Cathair Friel raced clear on goal and lifted the ball over Point 'keeper Aaron McCarey, but the ball came off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared on the line by ex-Ballymena man Danny Wallace. Wallace was involved at the other end shortly afterwards in Warrenpoint's first chance of the game, but the defender couldn't quite turn the ball home from close range.
After those early exchanges United would go on to create more of the chances in the half, although there was little to split the sides possession wise. Tony Kane, back in the starting XI for the injured Reece Glendinning, switched play neatly to find Steven McCullough, who in turn found Jude Winchester, with his effort from distance well saved by McCarey. On 13 minutes Jonny Addis rose highest to meet a corner but couldn't keep it under the bar and in Ballymena's next attack Winchester let fly with a rocket from all of 25 yards which cannoned off the post before being cleared.
Warrenpoint's play wasn't being rewarded with chances, as highlighted by Alan O'Sullivan as he did well to get the better of Addis before hitting a poorly stuck shot which trickled its way to Thomas McDermott.
Both sides exchanged chances at either end with Friel and Wallace both firing over before Warrenpoint won a penalty on 34 minutes when Ciaran O'Connor nicked in front of Kofi Balmer inside the box before the defender was adjudged to have fouled him. Robbie Norton made no mistake from the spot, sending McDermott the wrong way to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
The lead lasted 3 minutes as Friel levelled for the Sky Blues. From the left wing McCullough delivered a sensational cross for Friel at the back post and it was probably easier to score than miss as he headed home. And United weren't finished there for the half as they completed the turnaround before half-time. Another cross from McCullough was dealt with by the home defence, but was only cleared as far as Friel who found the bottom corner with a lovely scissor-kick finish from the edge of the box for his 8th league goal this season to put Ballymena 2-1 up at the break.
After McDermott made a comfortable save to deny O'Sullivan in the opening minute of the second half, United picked up where they'd left off in the first period as they moved 3-1 ahead on 47 minutes. For the third goal in a row McCullough swung a ball in from the left, this time picking out an unmarked Winchester at the back post. Winchester unselfishly squared the ball across goal where Adam Lecky was waiting to simply tap the ball home over an extremely muddy goalmouth.
It was almost 4-1 a couple of minutes later when Kane found Friel who was searching for his hat trick, but he could only head over the bar. For the next 20 minutes there was little action for either goalkeeper to be concerned about. The Braidmen seemed to be lacking that creative spark when it mattered, whilst Warrenpoint also couldn't seem to get much going, with Norton pulling a long range effort well wide the best they could conjure up.
However, with 20 minutes left McDermott produced a potentially pivotal moment in the match with a fine save. Phillip Donnelly managed to find O'Sullivan at the back post, with the forward inside the 6 yard box, but his effort was denied by a top class stop from McDermott to keep the score at 3-1. With 73 minutes gone Ballymena were forced into a change as Addis couldn't carry on with a back muscle issue and he was replaced by Andrew Burns.
On 78 minutes United wrapped up all 3 points as James Knowles found a fourth. Good build up play ended with a one-two between Winchester and Knowles, with the latter unleashing an unstoppable bullet past McCarey from just outside the box to widen the gap to three goals.
Whilst he couldn't do much about Knowles' shot, McCarey pulled off a wonder save to prevent Friel from taking home the match ball, saving a header that was destined for the top corner, before Lecky squandered a good chance with the follow up, firing over.
With 4 minutes of time remaining Warrenpoint pulled back a controversial consolation goal. Referee Steven Gregg somehow penalised McDermott for picking up an alleged back pass, much to United's confusion and astonishment, and after the free kick was put behind, from the resulting corner Mark Griffin was able to squeeze a header over the line for 4-2.
Neither side really threatened in the final 5 minutes as the game ended 4-2, with United's historic winning run going on to keep us 2 points clear of Linfield at the top of the league.
Ballymena United travel to Seaview on Tuesday evening to play Crusaders in the semi-finals of the BetMcLean League Cup. Tickets are required for this game so if you haven't got yours yet, please read here.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Thomas McDermott, Tony Kane, Jonathan Addis ( Andrew Burns 73), Cathair Friel, James Knowles, Steven McCullough, Kofi Balmer, Jude Winchester, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar.

Subs not used: Ben McCauley, Conor Quigley, Ryan Mayse, Fra Nolan, Matthew Shevlin, Johnny McMurray.