To Be Confirmed

David Jeffrey and Bryan McLoughlin extend contracts
Uploaded Saturday, 8th Feb, 2020 at 19:10

Date: Saturday, 8th February, 2020; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1039;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Carrick Rangers [1] [2]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Ian McNabb; Assistant 1: Stephen Donaldson; Assistant 2: Adam Jeffrey; 4th Official: Neil Robinson;
Goals:
[0-1] CHERRY, Kyle (40 mins), [0-2] KELLY, Gerard (56 mins)

BALLYMENA United's league problems continued as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Carrick Rangers in horrendous conditions at The Showgrounds.
January signing Joseph McCready made his debut for the Sky Blues, replacing the injured Adam Lecky, in the only change from last Saturday's Irish Cup win over Warrenpoint Town.
With most of Northern Ireland feeling the force of Storm Ciara, Warden Street was no different as the first half was dictated by strong winds. Both sides unsurprisingly struggled to get the grips with the conditions in the opening twenty minutes, but after an actionless opening spell a flurry of chances came at once. Ballymena were playing with the wind in the first half and looked to take advantage from corners in particular. A ball in from Steven McCullough was prodded wide by Kyle Owens but took a slight deflection, with the resulting corner turned over by Leroy Millar six yards out.
Jonny Addis was threatening going forward for United and after great feet on the by-line his low cross was cleared as far as McCready, who saw a driven shot blocked narrowly wide. This time the resulting corner eventually fell to Jude Winchester, who sent a half volley just over. The Gers were being held back by the wind as they attacked the Town End, with some of goalkeeper Harry Doherty's goal kick's almost blowing back into his box. The first Carrick threatened Ballymena's goal was on 27 minutes but Darren Murray's tame effort was easy work for Ross Glendinning.
McCullough called Doherty into action when he caught all of a first time shot from twenty-five yards, but Doherty did well to parry, before Glendinning saved well to deny Caolan Loughran from a central free kick at the other end. Five minutes before the break Carrick took the lead despite playing into the conditions. Lloyd Anderson drove forward and passed for Murray, whose cross from the right was headed home by Kyle Cherry who easily got up above Andy McGrory.
With the last kick of the half Ballymena came within inches of levelling when James Knowles' free kick on the edge of box floated wide, but it was Carrick who led at the break.
After failing to take advantage of the weather in the first half, Ballymena had it all to do in the second period when they were forced to attack into not only growing winds, but now torrential rain. Those problems mounted ten minutes into the half when Carrick doubled their lead. United were left incensed when what look to be a fine tackle from Knowles was penalised as a foul by the assistant referee, and from the resulting free kick Cherry crossed for Gerard Kelly who headed home virtually unchallenged at the back post.
That was as good as it got for either side as conditions continued to worsen and neither team really looked like scoring. Despite the weather, United weren't doing little to force the matter as they failed to get the ball down and play, which was seemingly the only way forward. David Jeffrey tried to change things up as Joshua Kelly, Tony Kane and Kenneth Kane all came off the bench, but it was to little effect.
Loughran went close to scoring against his old team when he headed a free kick over, before late on goalscorer Kelly saw a low effort go just wide. With the scoreline and conditions the way they were, Ballymena fans were waiting to hear the final whistle as a dismal day all round saw United slump to a sixth straight league defeat.
Ballymena United host current champions Linfield in the Danske Bank Premiership on Friday evening, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside, Cathair Friel ( Tony Kane 70), James Knowles ( 55 Kenneth Kane 70), Steven McCullough, Joseph McCready, Andrew McGrory, Jude Winchester ( Joshua Kelly 70), Leroy Millar, Kyle Owens.

Subs not used: Andrew Burns, Kofi Balmer, Reece Glendinning, Ross Lavery.

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