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Saturday 25th November v. Cliftonville (away) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Tuesday, 12th Jan, 2016 at 23:06
Updated Wednesday, 13th Jan, 2016 at 09:23

Date: Tuesday, 12th January, 2016; Competition: Toals Co Antrim Shield - Final; Attendance: N/A;
Linfield [0] [2]
Ballymena United [1] [3]
Venue: National Stadium; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Ian McNabb; Assistant 1: Stephen Donaldson; Assistant 2: Butler; 4th Official: Andrew Davey; Additional Assistant 1: Andrew Butler;
Goals:
[0-1] McNALLY, Paddy (32 mins), [1-1] BATES, Guy (52 mins), [1-2] CUSHLEY, David (59 mins), [1-3] KANE, Eoin (76 mins), [2-3] STAFFORD, Mark (86 mins)

BALLYMENA United lifted the Toals Co Antrim Shield on Tuesday night, the goals scored by Paddy McNally, David Cushley and Eoin Kane.
The first chance of the game came the way of Linfield, Kirk Millar crossing to Guy Bates whose shot bounced off Jim Ervin's chest and away from goal. It was almost 15 minutes before United had an attempt, a free kick from David Cushley dropped by Blues keeper Ross Glendinning almost giving the incoming Allan Jenkins a chance but the keeper gathered at the second attempt. Moments later the visiting fans were left stunned as Jamie Mulgrew hit the crossbar, the ball taking an age to come down but safely defended.
Both teams were pressing for a goal and, with just over half an hour played, Tony Kane sent a free kick into the box and Paddy McNally got his head on the end of it to fire the Sky Blues into a deserved lead. As United continued to press the lead was almost doubled when Tony Kane had a shot but it went straight to Glendinning.
It looked a different Linfield team in the second half, Ballymena finding it hard to get on the ball and Andy Waterworth coming close with a shot. There was an air of inevitability that an equaliser would come sooner or later, and on 52 minutes referee Ian McNabb judged Jenkins to have fouled, giving the home side a free kick. Niall Quinn sent the ball into the box and United keeper Alan Blayney managed to get two fists to the ball, but only to see it come straight back down for Guy Bates to slot home.
Approaching the hour mark the Braidmen were back in front, Tony Kane crossing to Willie Faulkner who deflected it into the path of David Cushley with his chest, his shot taking a deflection off a Linfield defender and sneaking into the corner of the net.
Again, Linfield ramped up the pressure, Tony Kane heading the ball off the line and Jimmy Callacher heading over on the rebound. A few minutes later Callacher had another chance but his timid header was easy for Blayney to deal with, Sean Ward also missing by inches with a long range shot. Blayney had to be alert again as a long range quick free kick from Callacher came very close to dipping in, the in-form keeper tipping the ball over the bar.
United fans were sent into raptures with less than 15 minutes of the game left as Eoin Kane managed to get on the end of a loose ball in the box, firing it home off the crossbar.
Linfield pulled a goal back less than 10 minutes later through a Mark Stafford header after a cross from Mark Haughey, setting up a very nervy end. Deep into 4 minutes of stoppage time Ballymena fans had their hearts in their mouths on more than one occasion as the woodwork, along with some last ditch defending, came to the rescue, and when the final whistle was blown it was a mixture of delight and relief for the victorious Sky Blues.
David Cushley was awarded the Toals Man Of The Match, with the team taking great delight in showing off the prize to the large visiting support. This was the second time Glenn Ferguson has led United to a Co Antrim Shield Final win over Linfield, but the fact that this was in their own back yard made the victory a little but more thrilling.
Ballymena United host Carrick Rangers in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday at the Showgrounds, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Paul Irwin
Ballymena United Team:
Alan Blayney ( 81), Eoin Kane ( Matthew Ferguson 90), Paddy McNally, Jim Ervin ( 53), Stephen McBride ( 86), Gavin Taggart ( Darren Henderson 90), Tony Kane, Gary Thompson, Willie Faulkner ( Matthew Shevlin 83), David Cushley ( 56), Allan Jenkins ( 51).

Subs not used: Dwayne Nelson, Nathan Hanley.