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Friday 5th April v. Linfield (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Tuesday, 8th Jan, 2019 at 23:25

Date: Tuesday, 8th January, 2019; Competition: Toals Co Antrim Shield - Semi-Final; Attendance: N/A;
Ballymena United [0] [1]
Linfield [1] [2]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Andrew Davey; Assistant 1: George Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Ken Ross; 4th Official: Tony Clarke;
Goals:
[0-1] WATERWORTH, Andrew (29 mins), [0-2] WATERWORTH, Andrew (59 mins), [1-2] FRIEL, Cathair (77 mins)

BALLYMENA United missed the chance to secure a spot in the Toals Co Antrim Shield final, losing 2-1 at home to Linfield on Tuesday evening.
United made 6 changes to the side that faced Dundela in Saturday's Irish Cup tie ahead of tonight's game at The Showgrounds, including a home debut for Ryan Harpur, but it was one of those who retained their place that had the first chance of the game. Captain for the night Tony Kane lifted a cross into Ryan Mayse who sent a volley straight at Roy Carroll.
Mayse's chance came on 7 minutes and it was the only effort from either side in the opening 20 minutes. A good battle in the middle of the park between both midfields was where most of the action was happening as neither side could go on to create chances. Linfield's first real threatening of the United goal came on 24 minutes when Josh Robinson had a header from a corner cleared off the line by Kane.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 29th minute as Andy Waterworth netted on his 250th appearance for The Blues. At the back post Niall Quinn found Stephen Fallon, who turned before seeing his shot diverted home by Waterworth from 3 yards out.
5 minutes after falling behind James Knowles won a free kick for the Sky Blues. From 25 yards Knowles took the free kick himself but couldn't keep his effort down as a dull half ended 0-1.
Ballymena looked to come out of the gate quickly in the second half and neat feet from Mayse opened up a chance but his low shot was bread and butter work for Carroll. Linfield had the ball in the back of the net 7 minutes in through Fallon, however it was chalked off for Jordan Stewart being offside in the build up. Seconds later Quinn picked out Kirk Millar at the back post but he headed wide from a good position.
With Ballymena lacking some penetration a charging run from Jonny Addis from the back saw the defender slide a ball through for Mayse. Jimmy Callacher could only half intercept the danger giving Mayse a half chance but he couldn't get the ball under control as the chance came and went.
On 59 minutes the visitors doubled their advantage. Joel Cooper did well to tee up Stewart and his effort from the edge of the box was well saved by Ross Glendinning, but the rebound landed straight at the feet of Waterworth who couldn't miss to grab his and Linfield's second.
Ballymena tried to hit back instantly as Mayse did well to bring a high ball under control and feed through Matthew Shevlin who saw his attempt well blocked by Chris Casement. Despite looking more lively in the second half, there still seemed to be a lack of cutting edge up top for United and it prompted David Jeffrey into a double sub as Cathair Friel and Johnny McMurray replaced Mayse and Shevlin.
The ever dangerous striking duo added more purpose to Ballymena from the get go as McMurray put a half chance wide after poor Linfield defending, before Friel pulled a goal back with 15 minutes left. Willie Faulkner did extremely well to hold up a long ball from Kane and Faulkner delivered a perfect cross for Friel who headed home from close range.
The final 15 minutes was mostly United as the hosts searched for an equaliser but despite plenty of pressure, chances were few and far between. Casement almost killed the game of at the other end with 5 minutes left when he let fly from distance and rattled the post.
Inside 3 minutes of added time United sent Glendinning forward for a corner in a desperate bid for a goal but the one golden chance didn't quite fall as Linfield held on to set up a final date with Crusaders.
Ballymena United host Dungannon Swifts 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, Conor Quigley, Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside, Ryan Mayse ( Cathair Friel 64), James Knowles, Willie Faulkner ( Shane McGinty 83), Matthew Shevlin ( Johnny McMurray 64), Kofi Balmer ( 79), Ryan Harpur ( 62).

Subs not used: Steven McCullough, Jim Ervin.