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Uploaded Saturday, 23rd Feb, 2019 at 19:18

Date: Saturday, 23rd February, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 2747;
Linfield [0] [1]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: National Stadium; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Tim Marshall; Assistant 1: Paul Robinson; Assistant 2: Andrew Nethery; 4th Official: Jamie Robinson;
[1-0] ROBINSON, Josh (55 mins)

BALLYMENA United suffered a second 1-0 defeat to Linfield in 7 days to lose ground at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.
United headed to The National Stadium for the second Saturday running looking to avenge last week's League Cup final defeat, and made two changes with Tony Kane and Scot Whiteside replacing James Knowles and Kofi Balmer respectively.
Yet again there was little to split the sides in the early stages, with Andy Waterworth flashing a shot well wide at one end and Jude Winchester doing the same at the other, in the first chances for both teams. On 8 minutes a route one ball from Ross Glendinning found Andy McGrory who lobbed Gareth Deane in the Linfield goal, but Blues' debutant Ryan McGivern was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Most of the battling on the pitch was being done in the middle of the park, but Jamie Mulgrew was able to take advantage of a rare bit of space to break and find Marek Cervenka. The Czech found Andy Waterworth inside the box but his shot was brilliantly blocked by the body of Jonny Addis.
There was little to report on goalmouth action in the middle part of the half, with a deflected long range effort from Mulgrew the only chance, but Glendinning had little issues in getting across to make the save. Inside the final 10 minutes the Sky Blue supporters momentarily thought they'd gone ahead when a looping header from Adam Lecky must've looked to have gone in, but instead it had gone inches over the crossbar.
Lecky then found himself fouled four times in as many minutes, with the fourth a poor, lunging tackle from Jimmy Callagher, which referee Tim Marshall deemed only a yellow card. The best chance of the half came United's way in added time when Whiteside met a free kick from Steven McCullough, but he headed narrowly over as a tight half ended goalless.
The second half got off to a fairly quiet start, but it was awoken on 53 minutes when Josh Robinson rattled the bar with a powerful strike from all of 25 yards, and a minute later Robinson put Linfield ahead. From a Kyle McClean corner Robinson rose highest to power home a header into the top corner and give the hosts the breakthrough.
The opener put Ballymena in an all too familiar position of having to chase an equaliser at Windsor Park, but unlike last week, crosses into the box were failing to create any real threat or danger. Cathair Friel was able to pick out McCullough in the middle of the box, but he was unable to get a connection on the ball to turn it goal wards. With Johnny McMurray, Willie Faulkner and Shane McGinty all brought on to try and force a crucial goal, Linfield stood strong to keep the Braidmen out.
Ballymena would've wanted one chance in the final 5 minutes, and it came when a corner from Leroy Millar found McGinty, but his header was tipped onto the bar and over by Deane, with a goal kick given.
After Glendinning did well to stop Jim Ervin turning a cross from sub Michael O'Connor into his own net, Ballymena had a massive penalty appeal waved away with 1 minute left. A shot from Lecky clearly struck the arm of Callacher inside the box, but Tim Marshall said no penalty, leaving David Jeffrey and his players incensed, as Linfield held on.
The result sees United stay in second place, but now trailing today's opponents by 9 points at the top.
Ballymena United host Cliftonville at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Author Name
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane ( 15), Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside, Cathair Friel, Steven McCullough ( Shane McGinty 85), Andrew McGrory ( Willie Faulkner 76), Jude Winchester ( Johnny McMurray 70), Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Conor Quigley, Matthew Shevlin, Albert Watson.