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Saturday 11th February v. Portadown (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm


RSC ANDERLECHT (Belgium) [1989/1990 - European Cup Winners' Cup; First Round]
Overview | First Leg | Second Leg | "I Was There"

JOHN McKee's summing up shortly after the final whistle in last week's European Cup Winners Cup clash with top Belgian side Anderlecht said it all.
"It was like lambs to the slaughter," remarked the 28-year-old Ballymena United winger, who was given the task of marking world class star Milan Jankovic. It was no contest, Anderlecht, laced with internationals, were naturally too, too hot to handle. The young part-timers from Ballymena, though will have thoroughly enjoyed the experience in front of the 7,000 turnout at Anderlecht's Vanden Stock Stadium.
Five minutes before kick-off the match officials, followed by the teams marched out into the centre of the pitch. The home supporters, and two dozen from Ballymena who made the trip, gave them a warm welcome. Obviously United were going to be forced into playing a defensive game and from the very start the Belgian Cup champions threatened. Twice in the opening seconds 25-year-old striker Marc Van der Linden powerfully headed just wide of the target.
United's John Heron was given the job of keeping tabs of Van der Linden, who at 90,000,000 Belgium francs (£1,750,000) is the most expensive ever signing in the country. Ian Hamilton, in at right-back, sped through but was neatly tackled by 32-year-old Dutch international Adri Van Tiggelen.
In the 10th minute Lindsay Curry, who was United's sole frontman, cut in from the right, rounded his man and drove for goal. Goalkeeper Filip de Wilde was forced to go down to gather the shot. This was Ballymena's only attempt on goal. A minute later Anderlecht opened the scoring. Finnish player Kari Ukkonen had the ball pushed to his feet and his thunder-bolt, precision strike beat Grant, who literally seconds before had stopped another goal-bound strike from the same player.
Five minutes later they got their second. Jankovic operating at the by-line, faced McKee and cheekily nut-megged him before curling in a cross which 22-year-old Luc Nilis controlled on his chest before rifling home from 25 yards. United's John Garrett, in his 15th European clash, tried to calm United as wave after wave of attack belted in. Anderlecht, a world class outfit, were pushing the ball about as though they were at a training session. They attacked at will and United were forced to go through a mountain of work to try and contain them.
As Draperstown milkman McKee said - it was like lambs to the slaughter. Classy Nilis carved his way past three men before shooting but this time Grant was equal to this attempt. Grant came to the rescue in the 27th minute but injured himself in the process. Marc Degryse's cross right to the feet of Nilis, who was in a perfect scoring position close in front of goal, was bravely intercepted by the diving Grant.
The 22-year-old Belfastman was left writhing in agony and physiotherapist Joss Arbuthnott was quickly on the scene. Nilis, too recieved treatment and the mis-match continued. Star player Jankovic was substituted in the 28th minute, Par Zetterbeg replacing him. The bombardment on the United goal continued. Nilis got on the end of a telling pass which split the packed rearguard and tried to chip Grant but the ball sailed the wrong side of the bar.
Twenty-two-year-old Nilis made no mistake a minute later, his left foot shot giving Grant no chance. Overworked United's nightmare continued when one minute into the second half, Anderlecht struck again. Van der Linden began and finished the move. The tall former Antwerp striker pushed the ball left to Patrick Vervoort but his parting shot was parried out by Grant. From the rebound quite a bit out Van der Linden struck goal number four.
Their fifth was a peach. Another lightning burst down the right from Degryse was cut into the path of the inrushing Van der Linden andhis side-foot shot went well wide of Grant and into the net. Nilis threatened again, as Anderlecht clicked out of first gear but Grant pulled off another save and again went down hurt. For the second time Reserve 'keeper Joe McErlean warmed-up but for the second time he was not required.
Anderlecht continued the hunt for more goals. Degryse fired a shot off target after keyman Nilis supplied the pass.In the 59th minute Van der Linden, who was still struggling with a virus, played his last part in the game. He headed just wide before being replaced by coloured player Luis Barroso Oliveira.
Oliveira took little time to settle and only another good save by Grant denied him. There was no let-up in the Anderlecht side. They pushed the ball about, like a practice kick-about, and the pressure on United continued. The Braidside did not let their heads drop. They fought hard to contain the Europeans. It was their hardest nights work in quite some time.
United manager Alex McKee brought off bearded David Smyth, who in the first half was involved in a bruising battle with Degryse, and sent on ex-Ards man Ricky Simpson, who only recently signed a new contract at the Showgrounds. Oliveira glanced on a head and big right-back Arnor Gudjohnsen could believe it as Grant saved his point blank power-drive. Grant came to the rescue again to deny Nilis.
In a rare break Curry tried to weave his way past the Anderlecht defence and although keeping tight control he eventually lost his footing in the area and the home side immediately raced to the opposite end again. Nilis curled in a shot from the right which beat the 'keeper but struck the base of the post.
Gudjohnsen thundered in another strike and again Grant was in the line of fire. Big Grant could do nothing about Gudjohnsen's next bid for goal, the shot going in off defender Hamilton. Curry was taken off six minutes from the end and Limavady's Dessie Loughery got an outing. The flying winger got one race at goal, speeding onto a high Simpson through ball but a timely tackle stopped him.
In the 87th minute that man Grant finished a fine display with another cracking save from Oliveira. At the end Anderlecht supporters gave weary United a standing ovation as they trooped off the pitch. It was United's worst defeat ever in European competitions - but the quality of Anderlecht had to been to be believed.
In a rare break Curry tried to weave his way past the Anderlecht defence and although keeping tight control he eventually lost his footing in the area and the home side immediately raced to the opposite end again. Nilis curled in a shot from the right which beat the 'keeper but struck the base of the post.
Report by Shaun O'Neill - Ballymena Guardian - 20/09/1989

Date: Wednesday, 13th September, 1989
Competition: European Cup Winners Cup First Round First Leg
Venue: Vanden Stock Stadium
Attendance: 7,000
Final Score: RSC Anderlecht 6-0 Ballymena United
RSC Anderlecht: Filip De Wilde, Arnor Gudjohnsen, Guy Marchoul, Adri Van Tiggelen, Henrik Andersen, Kari Ukkonen, Patrick Vervoort, Luc Nilis, Marc Degryse, Milan Jankovic (sub Par Zetterberg 28), Marc Van der Linden (sub Luis Oliveria 59). Subs (not used): Ranko Stojic, Charles Musonda, Gert Verheyen.
Goals: Ukkonen ('11), Nilis ('16,'35), Van der Linden ('47,'52), Gudjohnsen ('84)
Ballymena United: Damien Grant, Ian Hamilton, Michael Smyth, John Garrett, John Heron, Stephen Young, John McKee, Lindsay Curry (sub Des Loughery 84), Tom Sloan, Paul Hardy, David Smyth (sub Richard Simpson 65). Subs (not used): Jim Scott, Kevin O'Neill, Joseph McErlean.
Goals: None
Referee: Thorodd Presberg (Norway)