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Saturday 7th December v. Crusaders (away) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 17th Aug, 2019 at 20:30

Date: Saturday, 17th August, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1850;
Larne [1] [2]
Ballymena United [2] [4]
Venue: Inver Park; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Lee Tavinder; Assistant 1: Richard Storey; Assistant 2: Adrian Sobieski; 4th Official: Neil Robinson;
Goals:
[0-1] ADDIS, Jonathan (6 mins), [1-1] RANDALL, Mark (35 mins), [1-2] McGRORY, Andrew (37 mins), [1-3] FRIEL, Cathair (51 mins), [1-4] WINCHESTER, Jude (57 mins), [2-4] McMURRAY, Jonathan (75 mins)

THE FIRST league meeting between Ballymena United and Larne for over a decade ended with a resounding 4-2 victory to the Sky Blues.
United made three changes to the side who opened up the season in Dungannon last week, with Tony Kane, Kofi Balmer and Ryan Mayse making way for Andy McGrory, Andrew Burns and Declan Carville.
After a fairly routine opening 5 minutes, the game was sparked into life when Jonny Addis put forward an early contender for goal of the season. After winning the ball back inside his own half, Addis saw Conor Devlin off his line and went for the unthinkable, with his strike looking in the whole say as it sailed over Devlin and into the goal.
Within 2 minutes of Addis' stunner, Larne almost hit straight back as Davy McDaid was allowed time to turn before firing a looping effort off the top of the crossbar. As the game settled down Larne began to get the ball down and play but were having little joy as Ballymena cut out any real chances and at the other end Steven McCullough curled a free kick just wide and Cathair Friel had a half-hearted penalty appeal turned down.
On 35 minutes the The Inver Reds equalised after a period of pressure in the Ballymena half. At the end of a twenty pass move, McDaid played in Mark Randall and with no one following him he took the ball down before slotting the ball past Ross Glendinning.
Larne were, however, only level for all of 2 minutes as The Sky Blues moved back in front thanks to McGrory. After a handball from Randall, Addis took a quick free kick to McCullough, who delivered an inch-perfect ball to the back post where McGrory arrived to poke the ball home and give United a narrow half-time lead.
The Braidmen came out with a change for the second half as Kofi Balmer replaced Burns, with Balmer involved in Ballymena's third goal on 51 minutes. After another quick free kick, Balmer launched a long ball into the box and it fell to Friel on the edge of the box. Not to be outdone by Addis, Friel scored a screamer of his own as he chested the ball down before sending an unstoppable volley past Devlin and into the top corner in front of Ballymena's large travelling support.
Just 5 minutes after Friel's goal United found a fourth as Jude Winchester got in on the act. A slack pass at the back from former Ballymena man Albert Watson fell to Friel who found Winchester, and he cut inside before scoring a peach of his own as his powerful strike from 20 yards hit the underside of the bar on its way in.
The Sky Blues' screamers left Larne stunned, as the league's table toppers coming into the game struggled to make immediate inroads into the scoreline.
With Ballymena sitting off a little and happy with their three goal lead, it took until the 70th minute for the hosts to really threathen. Tomas Cosgrove fizzed a low ball across the six yard box but a fine piece of defending from Balmer prevented McDaid from tapping the ball home.
With 14 minutes left Larne found a consolation second goal. A free kick from Randall went right the way through to sub Johnny McMurray, who poked the ball round Glendinning before smashing the ball into the open goal, to score in his first game against Ballymena after leaving in the summer.
In the closing stages of the game Leroy Millar flashed an effort just wide at one end, whilst at the other end sub Lee Lynch forced Glendinning into a great save, but there would be no more goals added to the six as Ballymena picked up their first win of the season, and the derby bragging rights, in style.
Ballymena United welcome Glentoran to the Showgrounds next Saturday in the Danske Bank Premiership, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Jonathan Addis, Ryan Harpur ( 61), Cathair Friel, Steven McCullough, Andrew Burns ( 57 Kofi Balmer 46), Declan Carville ( 78), Andrew McGrory, Jude Winchester ( Shane McGinty 76), Jim Ervin, Leroy Millar ( 75).

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Tony Kane, Ryan Mayse, Joshue Kelly, Ross Lavery.