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Monday 27th July v. Coleraine (neutral) - Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup SF - k.o: 4:00pm

Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup semi-final

Uploaded Saturday, 7th Sep, 2019 at 19:05

Date: Saturday, 7th September, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 926;
Ballymena United [1] [4]
Warrenpoint Town [0] [0]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Arnold Hunter; Assistant 1: Gareth Eakin; Assistant 2: David Anderson; 4th Official: Tim Marshall;
[1-0] MILLAR, Leroy (16 mins), [2-0] McGRORY, Andrew (74 mins), [3-0] FRIEL, Cathair (81 mins), [4-0] FRIEL, Cathair (89 mins)

BALLYMENA United put in a strong second half performance after going down to 10 men to record a 4-0 win over Warrenpoint Town at the Showgrounds.
With Kofi Balmer on Northern Ireland U21's duty and Jonny Addis suspended, Andrew Burns and Scot Whiteside came into the starting XI, while Aaron Burns made his first appearance in Sky Blue in place of Declan Carville.
Not for the first time this season it was a bit of a sluggish start for United, as the pointless Point started slightly the better. After a quiet opening 10 minutes, Ross Glendinning was forced to tip the ball over the crossbar after Lorcan Forde flicked on a ball from Matthew Lynch, before Brandon Doyle flashed a shot from distance just wide shortly afterwards. A nice through ball from the new man Burns gave Ballymena their first chance to threaten on 14 minutes, but Warrenpoint 'keeper Evan Moran got out well to smoother Cathair Friel's chance.
With 16 minutes gone Ballymena took the lead after a slick passing move. On the edge of the box Friel and Andy McGrory combined well, with the latter finding Jude Winchester, who in turn found Leroy Millar, and he finished well past Moran who had his sight slightly blocked by his defence.
The Braidmen missed a good opportunity to make it two 5 minutes after the goal when Winchester fired a ball across Warrenpoint's six yard box, but Aaron Burns failed to get any contact on the ball to send it home. From there, the rest of the half was poor from the hosts as the odd piece of decent play was outweighed by some sloppy passing and generally lacklustre play. The visitors were seeing more of the ball than probably expected and almost equalised when Anton Reilly headed just wide from an Eamon Scannell corner.
The last 10 minutes of the half so no chances of note for either side until McGrory tried an audacious volley from 30 yards in added time, but his decent effort dipped just over as Ballymena held a narrow lead at the break.
The first chance of the second half came the way of the Co. Down side when Alan O'Sullivan tested Glendinning with a low angled shot, but United's stopper did well to make the save. On 54 minutes Winchester fired a great chance over. A long throw fell all the way to Friel on the by-line and he cut it back for Winchester who had time for a touch before sending his effort over the bar.
57 minutes in it was a case of deja vu for United from Carrick last week when The Sky Blues were reduced to 10 men after a late challenge from Andrew Burns on Conall Young saw Arnold Hunter brandish a straight red.
As expected, Warrenpoint enjoyed a good spell straight after the sending off, with Forde going close on two occasions, before O'Sullivan hit a strong effort straight at Glendinning. However after that initial wave of chances for Stephen McDonnell's side, the 10 men of United produced their best spell of the game to put themselves out of sight.
With 17 minutes left Warrenpoint captain Danny Wallace brought down Friel well inside the box, with Arnold Hunter looking like he was awarding a penalty, before seconds later the referee bizarrely changed his mind and awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. With United rightly incensed with the decision, McGrory made sure it was soon forgotten about as he stepped up and whipped the free kick straight into the top corner to put Ballymena 2-0 ahead.
Warrenpoint almost hit back instantly when Deane Watters' cross to the back post was put wide by Scannell, before Ballymena secured maximum points with a third. Substitute Ross Lavery teed up Steven McCullough to deliver a trademark inch-perfect ball into the box and Friel was there to nod the ball home for United.
With a minute of normal time left, McGrory went for an Addis-esque goal when he saw Moran off his line, but his attempt sailed just over, but seconds later Ballymena had a fourth. Millar broke from the back and played in Friel who had all the time in the world to decide what he was going to do, and one on one with Moran, Friel coolly lifted the ball over the 'keeper and into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
With the win secured, United would've been keen to make it back to back clean sheets as Warrenpoint finished well. Doyle picked out an unmarked Scannell who should've done better as he headed over, before Glendinning made a good save with his feet to keep O'Sullivan out, as Ballymena, still not quite firing on all cylinders, picked up a clean sheet and three good points to move up to fourth in the table.
Next up for Ballymena United is a home tie against Dundela in the first round of this seasons Toals Co Antrim Shield on Tuesday evening, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Scot Whiteside, Ryan Harpur ( 25 Declan Carville 70), Cathair Friel, Steven McCullough, Andrew Burns ( 58), Andrew McGrory, Jude Winchester ( Shane McGinty 70), Jim Ervin, Leroy Millar, Aaron Burns ( Ross Lavery 76).

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Ryan Mayse, Joshua Kelly, Ethan Warnock.