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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, 9th Nov, 2019 at 19:54

Date: Saturday, 9th November, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 740;
Ballymena United [1] [1]
Carrick Rangers [2] [2]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Raymond Crangle; Assistant 1: Richard Storey; Assistant 2: Kristian Hanna; 4th Official: Peter McGrath;
[0-1] KELLY, Gerard (1 mins), [1-1] BURNS, Aaron (12 mins), [1-2] CHAPMAN, Lee (23 mins)

BALLYMENA United's difficult run of form continued with a 2-1 defeat to Carrick Rangers at The Showgrounds this afternoon.
Before kick-off, United's annual Act of Remembrance was held, with David Jeffrey and Niall Currie laying wreath's in the centre circle after an impeccable minute's silence.
After conceding just 5 minutes in last week, Ballymena would've hoped to have started better, but instead it got worse as Carrick went ahead 45 seconds in. Kyle Cherry's ball in was headed goal-wards by Daniel Kelly but he was denied by a fine Ross Glendinning save. However, the United defence were slow to react to the rebound and Kelly was on hand to send the ball home.
It should've been 2-0 minutes later when Lee Chapman played in a totlly unmarked Guilliaume Keke, but Andrew Burns did well to get back and block the shot. On 12 minutes Ballymena levelled as Aaron Burn netted his first goal in Sky Blue. Steven McCullough swung a corner into the back post where the unmarked Burns was waiting to head home.
Josh Kelly fired just over shortly afterwards but in truth it was Carrick who always looked likely to score the next goal. A ropey start from Ballymena's defence got no better when they failed to clear the ball on three occasions before Keke's effort was cleared on the line by Jim Ervin. With 23 minutes gone a header from McCullough was intended for Ross Lavery, but fell straight into the path of Willie Faulkner, who went through one on one though he was denied by Glendinning, but seconds later it was 2-1 Carrick. After McCullough had cleared up the rebound from Glendinning's save, the resulting throw in was flicked on by Kelly to Chapman at the back post who finished first time.
With Carrick now thoroughly on top Kelly should've had his second of the game 2 minutes later when he was picked out by Chapman, but under little pressure he headed wide. Despite their struggles Ballymena were millimetres away from making it 2-2 on the half hour mark. Jonny Addis found Lavery with a great ball and he crossed low for Andy McGrory, who from close range saw his shot come off the underside of the crossbar and after it was adjudged to have stayed out, Carrick cleared. A couple of half chances came and went before the break, but it was the visitors who took a deserved half-time lead.
To say Ballymena could've had six second half goals is probably an understatement, with countless chances coming and going. Within 4 minutes of the restart Aaron Burns played in Kelly with a delightful ball, but Kelly took too long to shoot and he was smothered by Gers 'keeper Aaron Hogg. Carrick's only real chances of the half fell before the 55th minute mark. First, Gerard Thompson forced Glendinning to tip the ball over the bar from distance, and from the resulting corner Cherry flashed a shot just wide.
The Braidmen missed a good opportunity with 20 minutes to go when Lavery's low ball was parried by Hogg to Kenny Kane, but his effort was blocked on the line, but it marked a final 20 minutes of constant home pressure. Ryan Mayse and Shane McGinty were introduced from the bench and within 2 minutes of coming on McGinty could've scored. Addis roamed through the Carrick half from defence to tee up McGinty, but with time to think he dragged his attempt wide. 2 minutes later Andrew Burns missed with a free header at the back post, which was shortly followed by Aaron Burns and Addis heading over.
In amongst the string of chances came controversy when sub Leo Brown did well to cross after being fouled and Ballymena found the net from it, but incredibly referee Raymond Crangle brought play back for the foul instead of playing the advantage. With a minute left Ballymena's day was perfectly summed up when Aaron Burns showed great feet to race clear on goal, but as he went to shoot he tripped over himself and squandered the chance.
In added time a final chance came United's way as Kelly turned a cross wide, but despite the chances there was no one to put the ball in the net for Ballymena as yet another poor day at the office saw United slump to a fifth straight defeat in all competitions.
Ballymena United travel to North Belfast next Saturday afternoon to face Cliftonville in the league, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Jonathan Addis ( 8), Steven McCullough, Kenneth Kane, Andrew Burns ( 86), Andrew McGrory, Jude Winchester ( Shane McGinty 73), Jim Ervin, Aaron Burns ( Leo Brown 85), Joshua Kelly, Ross Lavery ( Ryan Mayse 73).

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Kofi Balmer, Reece Glendinning, Ethan Warnock.