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Saturday 30th October v. Larne (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Cliftonville MATCH REPORT

Uploaded Saturday, 18th Sep, 2021 at 17:47

Date: Saturday, 18th September, 2021; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 972;
Ballymena United [0] [1]
Glenavon [0] [1]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Keith Kennedy; Assistant 1: Stephen Bell; Assistant 2: George Argyropoulos; 4th Official: Tony Clarke;
Goals:
[0-1] FITZPATRICK, Matthew (51 mins), [1-1] WAIDE, Ryan (90 mins)

RYAN Waide's injury time leveller gave Ballymena United their first league point of the season after a 1-1 draw with Glenavon at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
David Jeffrey made three changes to the side that came through in the League Cup win during the week at Annagh United, with Jordan Williamson, Owen McKeown and new recruit Jonte Smith coming in for Sam Johnston, Dougie Wilson and Lee Chapman.
Back in front of home supporters for the first time this season, and only the third time in 2021, United started well and probably should've had a penalty after controversy in the opening two minutes. Bermudan striker Smith was given a warm welcome to the Irish League as he received a Mark Haughey boot to the head inside the box, but referee Keith Kennedy instead adjudged the foul to have taken place outside the penalty area. After much complaint, the free kick was finally taken and headed inches wide by Leroy Millar.
It was a good, open start on Warden Street after the early chance, with both sides going close. Former Sky Blue Danny Wallace glanced a corner wide at one end, while at the other Ryan Waide did well down the right to cross for Smith, who turned his shot just wide.
Smith was showing plenty to impress his new fans in the first half and played his part in a move that end with Jude Winchester flashing a shot wide from distance, before an incredible goalmouth scramble in Ballymena's box somehow ended without a Glenavon goal. In amongst the mad scramble that must've lasted a good fifteen seconds, Williamson made a huge save and Wallace hit the bar. It's anyone's guess what else happened, before United finally hooked the ball out of the siege.
Within a minute of the madness in the box, electrifying pace from Dan Bramall set Ballymena clear and his cross dropped to Waide outside the box, whose thumping strike was wonderfully saved by Declan Brown. The save dropped to Paul McElroy whose cross was met by Smith, but he saw his header saved, as an entertaining half ended goalless.
The second half got off to a far from ideal start for the hosts as the Lurgan Blues broke the deadlock on fifty-one minutes. Kyle Beggs cut in from the right and saw his shot parried by Williamson, and it fell to Matthew Fitzpatrick who was never missing as he smashed the ball home from inside the six yard box.
The Braidmen looked to hit back quickly and Smith shot wide as he wound one up from distance, but the Sky Blue chances were far less frequent in the second period. Glenavon should've moved further in front on fifty-seven minutes when Beggs crossed for Fitzpatrick who was unmarked at the back post, but he rose to header over, with the forward unaware Robert Garrett was in a better position to score behind him.
Ballymena were showing very little in the second half, but the bright spark without doubt was Bramall, and good feet down the left allowed him a chance to shoot, with his effort drifting wide.
The home sides best chance of the half came ten minutes from time when Bramall neatly slid in the skipper Millar, but Brown did well to keep his shot out with his feet.
Spencer Beattie and Jack Henderson were thrown on to help United's quest for an equaliser, and after Winchester, another strong performer on the day, had a shot terrifically tipped over by Brown, Ballymena found that equaliser from the resulting corner.
Ross Redman's ball was met by Conor Keeley, but he saw his header cleared off the line. The clearance landed at the feet of Waide in space at the back post and he slammed the ball home to rescue a deserved point for Ballymena in a nip and tuck game on Warden Street.
Ballymena United are at home again on Tuesday night when they face Harland & Wolff Welders in the 1st round of the Toals Co Antrim Shield, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Ross Redman, Owen McKeown ( Jack Henderson 79), Jude Winchester, Paul McElroy, Ryan Waide, Christopher Rodgers ( 86), Danial Bramall ( Spencer Beattie 83), Conor Keeley, Leroy Millar, Jonte Smith.

Subs not used: Samuel Johnston, Lee Chapman, Kenneth Kane, Brendan Barr, Caolan Loughran.