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Friday 20th December v. Glenavon (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Saturday, 2nd Nov, 2019 at 19:34

Date: Saturday, 2nd November, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1480;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Larne [2] [3]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Evan Boyce; Assistant 1: George Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Mark O'Brien; 4th Official: Diarmuid Harrigan;
Goals:
[0-1] HUGHES, Jeff (pen 5 mins), [0-2] LYNCH, Lee (40 mins), [0-3] LYNCH, Lee (55 mins)

AN injury depleted Ballymena United side limped to a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to rivals Larne this afternoon.
It only took 5 minutes for United's misery to begin when the visitors were awarded a penalty. Lee Lynch hurdled one challenge before he was brought down in the box by Declan Carville. Ross Glendinning went the right way but couldn't keep out a good penalty from Jeff Hughes as Larne took the early lead.
If things hadn't started badly enough for the Sky Blues, they got even worse just 14 minutes in when Cathair Friel rejoined the injury list, picking up a nasty looking shoulder injury after a foul from Johnny McMurray. He was replaced by Ryan Mayse. After the early goal neither side produced anything of note until Larne should've made it 2-0 on the half hour mark. Tomas Cosgrove played in Lynch who cut it back across goal for McMurray, but the ex-United man blasted over under pressure from close range.
After Hughes hit a free kick straight at Glendinning, Ballymena had their first real dangerous opening with 10 minutes left in the half. Andy McGrory fizzed an inviting ball across goal but it narrowly missed the incoming Kenny Kane, with Josh Kelly, wearing a head bandage after an earlier collision, seeing his shot from the rebound blocked by Graham Kelly.
On 39 minutes Larne made it 2-0. For what seemed like the umpteenth time, Larne got in behind United's defence with ease as Ben Tilney found McMurray, who put the ball on a plate for Lynch to tap home.
McMurray almost turned from provider to scorer minutes later when he dispossessed Kelly and put Tilney in behind again. Tilney played the ball back to McMurray but he was denied by a fine stop from Glendinning. With the last play of the half Kane tried his luck from 25 yards and saw his effort dip narrowly over, as a largely lifeless half from Ballymena saw them go into the break two down.
The Braidmen produced their best move of the match by some distance at the beginning of the second half when a string of quick passes ended with Mayse giving Aaron Burns a chance, but his weak effort was easy work for Conor Devlin. It was United's only shot on target.
On 55 minutes the host's problems continued to mount as Larne moved into a 3-0 lead. McDaid's high ball into the box from the byline was poorly dealt with by Ballymena's defence and it fell to Lynch, who saw his shot deflect off Kelly and end up in the back of the net for his second of the day.
Again the game produced little chances after a goal with Larne happy to ease the ball about the midfield against a Ballymena team who were second to every ball and seemed to know the game was up. It never rains but it pours when it comes to injuries and Kelly was forced off with one 20 minutes from time, being replaced by Andrew Burns, with Shane McGinty also coming on for Carville.
McDaid almost got in on the act for Larne when he was well picked out by Shane McEleney, but McGrory did well to divert his shot wide. At the other end Ballymena's day was summed up when Kane did extremely well to beat Kelly and he crossed for Mayse, but from six yards out and with an almost empty goal gaping, he somehow fired over. The final 5 minutes yielded no chances as Larne saw out a good win, but for Ballymena the result and manner of performance were sadly simply not good enough.
Ballymena United are at home again next weekend when they face Carrick Rangers in the Danske Bank Premiership, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Jonathan Addis, Cathair Friel ( Ryan Mayse 14), Kenneth Kane, Declan Carville ( 59 Shane McGinty 68), Andrew McGrory ( 58), Kofi Balmer, Jim Ervin, Aaron Burns ( 62), Joshua Kelly ( Andrew Burns 90 90), Ross Lavery.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, James Knowles, Joshua Kelly, Ross Lavery.