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Saturday 24th August v. Glentoran (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Tuesday, 30th Jul, 2019 at 06:21

Date: Monday, 29th July, 2019; Competition: Friendly; Attendance: N/A;
Ballymena United [1] [3]
Manchester United U23 [2] [4]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:30;
Goals:
[1-0] FRIEL, Cathair (16 mins), [1-1] LEVITT, Dyllan (pen 29 mins), [1-2] MELLOR, DMarni (34 mins), [1-3] BARLOW, Aidan (62 mins), [2-3] McGRORY, Andrew (pen 69 mins), [2-4] PUIGMAL, Arnau (82 mins), [3-4] HARPUR, Ryan (84 mins)

BALLYMENA United and Manchester United U23's played out an entertaining goal fest at The Showgrounds this evening, with the English side running out 4-3 winners.
The two sets met for a Challenge Match as part of the 2019 STATSport's SuperCupNI, with the game also making up part of the Sky Blues' pre-season.
As expected, Man United's youngsters started well, with Largie Ramazani and Ethan Laird both forcing Ross Glendinning into action inside 5 minutes. Following the visitors bright start, the Braidmen came into their own and put together a 15 minute spell of sustained pressure. Shane McGinty went close with a shot from close range before Cathair Friel beat Tedin Mengi for pace and strength and then saw his tight angled shot saved by Paul Woolston.
On 16 minutes Ballymena deservedly took the lead when a corner from Ross Lavery was met at the near post by Friel, who glanced a header home into the far corner.
Glendinning pulled off another top save to deny George Tanner but on 29 minutes the U23's were handed a penalty after Jim Ervin brought down Tanner on the by-line. Dyllan Levitt stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home for 1-1.
5 minutes later the turnaround was complete for Neil Wood's men, with Nicky Butt and Quinton Fortune amongst those also watching on from the bench. Tanner played in Laird down the wing and his ball across goal presented an easy finish for D'Marni Mellor.
Both sides had chances before the break, with Aidan Barlow being denied by Glendinning and James Garner's free kick drifting narrowly wide for Man United, whilst for Ballymena Friel headed over from a corner and Leroy Millar took one too many touches when he looked certain to score, allowing Di'Shon Bernard to clear.
Ballymena made four changes at the interval, including Glendinning making way for Jordan Williamson in the Sky Blue goal, and within 3 minutes Williamson was forced into a smart block.
Jude Winchester wasted a decent chance for Ballymena to equalise after good play from Millar, and seconds later at the other end McGinty made a goal saving tackle on Barlow. Just before the hour mark Man United should've had a third when Brandon Williams' dinked ball fell to Mellor in acres of space, but from 8 yards out he somehow fired over.
However on 61 minutes it was 3-1. Mellor made up for his miss with a wonderful defence-splitting through ball for Barlow, who neatly finished under Williamson.
More changes followed for Ballymena, before Friel rattled the crossbar after being picked out by Steven McCullough. On 68 minutes the game saw its second penalty awarded when sub Adam Lecky was hauled down by Laird. Fellow sub Andy McGrory took the spot kick and sent Woolston the wrong way to make it 3-2.
It was almost 3-3 shortly afterwards when a free kick from McCullough looked in the whole way, but Woolston got across to make a fine save. Ballymena's final string of changes included a Showgrounds debut for Kenny Kane, but within 5 minutes of the subs the young Red Devils seemed to wrap the game up with a fourth. Williams cut the ball back for Anthony Elanga who saw his shot saved, but on the rebound Arnau Puigmal couldn't miss.
However the goals weren't finished there as Ballymena found their third 2 minutes later. Friel broke down the left and fired a ball across goal which was met by Ryan Harpur, who found the back of the net with a powerful strike. The hosts failed in their hunt for a late equaliser, but David Jeffrey will be pleased by this high intensity, high quality friendly, that saw a strong Ballymena showing against a slick and talented Man United U23 side destined for bigger things.
Ballymena United travel to Dervock on Saturday afternoon for their last pre-season friendly before the start of this seasons Danske Bank Premiership.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning ( Jordan Williamson 46), Scot Whiteside ( Ryan Harpur 62), Jim Ervin ( Jonathan Addis 46), Kofi Balmer, Tony Kane ( Andrew McGrory 46), Ross Lavery ( Steven McCullough 46), Jude Winchester ( Andrew Burns 62 Kenny Kane 77), Shane McGinty ( 56 Joshua Kelly 75), Leroy Millar ( Declan Carville 75), Ryan Mayse ( Adam Lecky 62), Cathair Friel.