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To Be Confirmed

Danske Bank Premiership fixtures announced

Uploaded Saturday, 12th Jan, 2019 at 20:19

Date: Saturday, 12th January, 2019; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1003;
Ballymena United [1] [2]
Dungannon Swifts [0] [2]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Tim Marshall; Assistant 1: Richard Storey; Assistant 2: David Anderson; 4th Official: Andrew Davey;
[1-0] WINCHESTER, Jude (41 mins), [1-1] HUGHES, Daniel (63 mins), [2-1] FRIEL, Cathair (75 mins), [2-2] SMYTH, Oisin (77 mins)

BALLYMENA United were held to a draw by 10-man Dungannon Swifts on Saturday afternoon, the visitors bouncing back from being behind twice to grab a point.
United made 6 changes to the side from Tuesday night's Toals Co. Antrim Shield semi-final defeat to Linfield, as well as welcoming Leroy Millar back to the bench after injury. The first half won't be remembered as a classic as both sides struggled to contend with a strong wind early doors. It took until the 13th minute for either side to really threaten. A corner from James Knowles got caught with the wind and forced Alex Moore to punch Knowles' ball off the line, before on the follow up Jude Winchester's shot made for a simple save for Moore.
The Swifts' first chance of the game fell the way of Paul McElroy after he was played through on goal by Mark Patton. McElroy's shot got past Ross Glendinning but not Steven McCullough, with the defender on-hand to clear the ball inside the 6 yard box. In Cathair Friel and Johnny McMurray's first real piece of decent link up play, Friel found his strike partner who beat the offside trap before smashing a shot from an angle of the outside of the post.
Just after the half hour mark the visitor's went close to taking the lead when a free kick from Patton was met by Chris Hegarty who swung a boot at it, forcing Glendinning into a quick reaction save. The 'keeper got a counter attack started straight away which ended with Tony Kane picking out McMurray in acres of space just inside the box, but he flashed his effort wide.
With both sides struggling in the final third to create chances it was going to take a well worked goal to break the deadlock, but that's exactly what happened 4 minutes from the break as United went ahead. Friel picked up a loose ball and found Scot Whiteside who was well forward. The centre half passed to McMurray who laid off Winchester, and he found the top corner from 18 yards out to give Ballymena a 1-0 lead at the break.
If the first half was fairly dull for large parts, the second half was the complete opposite with 3 goals and a red card.
The opening 10 minutes produced very little action near either box, with both sides again lacking quality with the final ball, before the game sprung into action, Dungannon thought they'd levelled through sub Grant Hutchinson in the 59th minute, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Kane in the build up. The Braidmen's first chance of the half saw substitute Ryan Harpur keep a long throw alive before Winchester's low shot at the near post was well held by Moore.
Dungannon did equalise on 63 minutes after an attempted back-pass from Whiteside was intercepted by Daniel Hughes, who rounded Glendinning before finishing from a tight angle.
Ballymena's hopes of getting back in front after conceding an extremely avoidable goal were aided on 70 minutes when the Swifts were reduced to 10 men. Jim Ervin was on the end of a horror tackle from Douglas Wilson, with Dungannon having no complaints at the straight red card.
Within 2 minutes Moore pulled off a stunning save to deny Jonny Addis before The Sky Blues' regained the lead. After a long ball wasn't dealt with by Dungannon, Harpur was able to find Friel and his deflected shot managed to find a way past Moore.
United were ahead for just 2 minutes as The Swifts equalised for the second time. Sub Oisin Smyth played in McElroy down the left, with his shot being saved by Glendinning, but only parried into the middle of the box where Smyth took advantage of some slow United reaction's to send the ball home.
Whiteside almost put Ballymena ahead for a third time when he put a free header from an Addis cross onto the roof of the net. Despite being a man down, it was Dungannon who looked most likely to score in the final 5 minutes as they put the hosts under real pressure. The Swifts broke 2 on 2 with Patton driving forward and delivering a ball across goal that was narrowly missed by Smyth.
McElroy then called Glendinning into action as the 'keeper made a fine save to deny the striker in a one on one situation as the game ended 2-2.
Ballymena United are on the road next Saturday afternoon when they travel to Mourneview Park to face Glenavon, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Jonathan Addis, Scot Whiteside ( Shane McGinty 88), Cathair Friel, James Knowles ( Leroy Millar 67), Steven McCullough, Jude Winchester, Jim Ervin, Adam Lecky, Johnny McMurray ( Ryan Harpur 57).

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Ryan Mayse, Willie Faulkner, Kofi Balmer.