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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"

TIRED legs robbed Ballymena United of what would been a very respectable result against top European side Anderlecht in the second leg of the Cup Winners Cup at the Showgrounds last Wednesday night.
Up until seven minutes from the end Alex McKee's young side restricted the Belgium Cup champions to scoring just twice but as the pace of the match finally caught up with them, Anderlecht nipped in to notch up two more goals.
Naturally McKee had every reason to be pleased with United's showing. They worked hard throughout the game and visiting keeper Filip de Wilde, who literally only had a couple of touches in the match at the Vanden Stock Stadium, knew that Ballymena meant business this time around.
Striker Paul Hardy almost stunned Anderlecht with an equaliser two minutes into the second half but keeper Filip de Wilde pulled off a cracking to deny the Irish Cup final hero.
Manager McKee made four changes to the side which was soundly beaten 6-0 two weeks previously. Joe McErlean was in goal, Dessie Loughery and Ricky Simpson, substitutes on the last occasion, were on from the start and Billy Pyper who missed out on the 16-strong panel last time, was in at number nine.
There was no starting place for 19-year-old striker Lindsay Curry, the lad who fought a lone battle up front in Belgium.
Anderlecht could have brought over a Reserve side; they were 6-0 ahead and did not need to risk getting their top stars injured as they kept their thoughts very much on winning the Belgium League title.
But they brought exactly the same side which played on September 13 - it contains nine internationals - much to the delight of the home supporters.
In Belgium, United went a goal down in the 11th minute. They bettered this by 16 minutes at the Showgrounds. Prior to the opener United, hemmed down in their own half for the entire first round match, were once again determined to play the shirts off their backs.
Belgium international Marc Van der Linden, a £1,175,000 signing from Antwerp, blazed a fifth minute effort just over after a nice lay off from Milan Jankovic. Keeper McErlean, who saw the six being fired past Damien Grant, must have had visions of another mauling.
A minute later home defender Ian Hamilton had his name swiftly taken after a foul on Van der Linden, Icelandic referee E. Olafsson had the yellow card out of his pocket and hoisted it into the air before the striker hit the ground.
Twenty-five-year-old Van der Linden's free-kick - he scored from that position in a League game against KSV Cercie Brugge last weekend - was blocked by the United wall and hurriedly kicked clear.
Marc Degryse (24) raced for goal and Euro campaigner John Garrett did well to stop his advance. As the Belgium international fell inside the box he hoped for a penalty but the referee allowed play to continue.
Winger John McKee, injured in the first round game and with his knee strapped, played a long through ball for Pyper and the big Coleraine man forced a corner but De Wilde plucked it to safety.
In the 27th minute Anderlecht hit their second. John Heron was judged to have fouled 22-year-old Luc Nilis, the man who scored two classy goals in the first leg. It was a harsh decision and from the free Milan Jankovic rolled the ball into the path of Patrick Vervoot and his long range shot curled past the wall and into the net.
In Belgium, Anderlecht shot on sight. Time after time they belted in beauties smash on target. Grant, spectating last Wednesday night through injury, conceded six but pulled off a series of brilliant saves to keep the scoreline half respectable. In Ballymena, Anderlecht did not test McErlean quite so often.
Van der Linden, who enjoyed one hour against United in Belgium before being substituted, rifled a shot from long range which went over and Nilis' effort met a similar fate.
McErlean did well to gather a corner from the head of the the brilliant big blond haired right-back Arnor Gudjohnsen. Skill melted from the 28-year-old Iceland international.
A minute before half-time Hardy connected but his shot sailed well wide. Going in 1-0 down at the interval must have pleased McKee and his side.
In the second half Van der Linden did not make it out and Luis Oliveira replaced him.
Anderlecht made it 2-0 with a 30-yard shot from Degryse the ball being helped in by Hamilton.
They sharpened their goal threat. Oliveira shooting off the bar and on the hour Nilis sped past Stephen Young and his cross from the right should have been volleyed in by Oliveira but the coloured striker failed to connect with the goal at his mercy.
Anderlecht brought on Charles Musonda for Jankovic and United's brave battle against their quality opposition continued. The pace of Ballymena's part-timers was starting to take its toll but they intended making sure Anderlecht would not have the pleasure of putting another half-dozen past them.
Nilis tried for a cheeky goal, cutting his way in from the left he curled in a shot which dipped and but for a clean catch by McErlean would have finished up in the back of the net.
At the other end Limavady's Loughery went on another burst through but tried to find Pyper with a pass when he would have been better trying a shot himself.
Twice inside a minute McErlean pulled off important saves from Musonda and Gudjohnsen.
United made a double substitution David Smyth coming on for Simpson and Jim Scott for McKee.
It was only fitting that Gudjohnsen would get on the scoresheet. Out of nothing he unleashed a shot from 35 yards which almost ripped the rigging.
Degryse tried to make it five but McErlean came to the rescue. The Ballymena man, a watchmaker in nearby Randalstown, must have been wishing it was full-time.
He could not do a thing about the fourth and final goal. A long-range drive from Vervoort ended up nestling in the back of the net.
Finnish player Karl Ukkonen goal scorer in the first leg, had his close range shot blocked and then slotted the rebound over the bar.
United's European mission was over. They lost 10-0 on aggregate, their biggest defeat ever in Europe. Manager, Alex McKee was glad to get the games out of the way. And now all attention is focused back on to the domestic front again.
Report by Shaun O'Neill - Ballymena Guardian - 04/10/1989

Date: Wednesday, 27th September, 1989
Competition: European Cup Winners Cup First Round Second Leg
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 3,000
Final Score: Ballymena United 0-4 RSC Anderlecht
Ballymena United: Joseph McErlean, Ian Hamilton, Michael Smyth, John Garrett, John Heron, Stephen Young, John McKee (sub Jim Scott 81), Des Loughery, Billy Pyper, Paul Hardy, Richard Simpson (sub David Smyth 78). Subs (not used): Lindsay Curry, Thomas Sloan, Sean Moore.
Goals: None
RSC Anderlecht: De Wilde, Gudjohnsen, Marchoul, Van Tiggelen, Andersen, Ukkonen, Vervoort, Nilis, Degryse, Jankovic (sub Musonda 61), Van der Linden (sub Oliveria 46). Subs (not used): Stojic, Zetterberg, Van Durme.
Goals: Vervoort ('27,'87), Degryse ('53), Gudjohnsen ('84)
Referee: E. Olafsson (Iceland)