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Tuesday 23rd April v. Glenavon (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Saturday, 13th Apr, 2019 at 20:10

Date: Saturday, 13th April, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1117;
Cliftonville [1] [1]
Ballymena United [1] [1]
Venue: Solitude; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Evan Boyce; Assistant 1: Stephen Bell; Assistant 2: George Argyropoulos; 4th Official: Shane Andrews;
Goals:
[1-0] CURRAN, Ryan (2 mins), [1-1] McMURRAY, Johnny (15 mins)

BALLYMENA United drew with Cliftonville at Solitude on Saturday afternoon, Johnny McMurray cancelling out an early goal from Ryan Curran.
United made one change to the side that lost out to Linfield last Friday night, with Albert Watson coming in for the injured Jude Winchester.
The hosts were playing with the strong wind in the first half and that, combined with some sloppy play from the Sky Blues, made it a nightmare start for United. Inside a minute Jonathan Addis was caught sleeping and lost possession on the edge of his own box to Rory Donnelly, who tried to lift the ball over Ross Glendinning but put the ball wide. However a minute later Ballymena weren't as lucky as The Reds broke the deadlock. Chris Curran picked the ball up on the right hand side and eventually crossed low into the box, where he found Ryan Curran who had peeled off his marker before sending a scruffy shot into the back of the net.
After another few shaky minutes Ballymena started to grow into the game and had their first effort on 9 minutes. Leroy Millar did well to get a cross in from the left and his delivery was met by Steven McCullough, but with little power behind his volley Richard Brush easily saved. Shortly afterwards Kofi Balmer had the ball in the net, but it was rightfully ruled out for offside, before The Braidmen found an equaliser on the quarter hour mark. A neat move from United ended with Millar racing down the right and delivering a cross which Cliftonville couldn't quite clear, and after a spot of pinball Johnny McMurray reacted quickest to spin and then finish well from just inside the box.
After a frantic opening 15 minutes the chances dried up for the remainder of the half, not helped by the wind which was growing in strength. The majority of play was coming in the middle of the pitch with neither side able to gain an upper hand on the other. United's only half chance saw a fantastic first time ball from Addis almost find the unmarked McCullough, but the ball just whistled past McCullough as the half ended level.
Just like the end of the first half, the second 45 minutes won't last long in the memory with goalmouth action in short supply at both ends. Despite that, within a minute of the restart Andy McGrory tried his luck from an extremely acute angle outside the box, with his effort going into the side netting. On 51 minutes Ryan Curran was given time to cut inside all the way from the touchline to the edge of box, but he could only fire his shot well wide.
Using the wind to his advantage, Balmer was causing problems when given the opportunity of a long throw in, and following one of those throw's Millar teed up Scot Whiteside who looped a shot over Brush and over the crossbar. Around the hour mark the game was resorted back to a lengthy midfield battle, with numerous long punts forward from Ballymena catching the wind and going through for Brush to easily pluck out of the air. With 15 minutes to go Joe Gormley had his first real chance of the game after getting away from Jim Ervin, but from the edge of the box his effort sailed wide.
An off the ball incident involving Adam Lecky and Jamie Harney threatened to get out of hand, but as things calmed down both picked up a booking for their troubles. A similar coming together on the touchline saw Reds boss Paddy McLaughlin take issue with Ervin, but the situation was quickly resolved.
The final 5 minutes saw more action than the rest of the half combined as the visitors probed for a winner. A free kick from 25 yards via the boot of McCullough clipped the top of the wall and went narrowly over, and from the resulting corner Balmer had a shot well held by Brush. Another couple of goalmouth scrambles followed but Cliftonville managed to hang on and keep Ballymena out to see the sides share the spoils in United's last away game of the season.
Next up for United is a home Danske Bank Premiership game against Coleraine on Saturday 20th, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside, Steven McCullough, Andrew McGrory, Kofi Balmer, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky ( 80), Leroy Millar, Johnny McMurray, Albert Watson.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Tony Kane, Conor Quigley, Ryan Mayse, Shane McGinty, Willie Faulkner, Matthew Shevlin.