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Uploaded Wednesday, 22nd Sep, 2021 at 07:03

Date: Tuesday, 21st September, 2021; Competition: Toals Co Antrim Shield - Round 1; Attendance: N/A;
Ballymena United [0] [2]
HW Welders [0] [0]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Keith Kennedy; Assistant 1: Rachel Greer; Assistant 2: Brian Wilson;
[1-0] McELROY, Paul (69 mins), [2-0] WAIDE, Ryan (78 mins)

BALLYMENA United were made to work hard for their spot in the final eight of the Toals Co. Antrim as they came through 2-0 winners over Harland and Wolff Welders at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
United made a couple of changes from the side that picked up its first league point on Saturday, as Jack Henderson and Kenny Kane came in for Jude Winchester and Paul McElroy.
As is often the case when these two meet on an almost yearly occasion, the first half was a tight affair with very few chances. The games first chance came five minutes in, but from the edge of the box Dan Bramall cut inside and curled the ball well over.
The Welders' first effort was no more than a half chance as Craig Harris' first time shot from well out went well over, before Ryan Waide did well to create a chance for himself, but he fired wide. By the half hour mark no clear cut chances had presented themselves to either side in a scrappy tie. Carl McComb was reduced to trying his luck from well out, hoping to catch Jordan Williamson out, but the 'keeper tipped the speculative effort wide. From the resulting corner Brandon Nelson looked like he was going to turn the ball home at the near post, but good defending from Jonté Smith kept it out, as The Welders ended a low quality half as arguably the better side.
Kane made way at half time for Brendan Barr to give the man on loan from Derry City his United debut, and he looked bright in the second half. The Sky Blues had possibly their best chance of the game three minutes into the half as Ross Redman's deep ball picked out Smith, but he couldn't get enough on his header to trouble Ben McCauley in the visitors goal.
At the other end Williamson had to be alert to bat away a shot/cross from Darren Murray, before a driving run from Bramall from almost his own half ended with him firing well over, however it gave the United faithful something to get excited about.
Smith was forced off on sixty-seven minutes with a blow to the head and he was replaced by McElroy, who made an instant impact by finally breaking the deadlock within two minutes of coming on. A Redman corner was turned goalwards by Conor Keeley and it fell to McElroy on the post who was able to scramble the ball home on the line.
One of Ballymena's best moves of the night saw a great run down the right by Barr end with him picking out McElroy, who in turn teed up Jack Henderson, who shot wide. With twelve minutes to go the Braidmen gave themselves breathing space with a second goal, which was a cracker. Bramall was hauled down on the edge of box to allow a good shooting opportunity, and Waide took full advantage, firing the free kick into the top corner past a static McCauley.
It could've been a nervy finishing when Michael McLellan got in behind to shoot, but he was denied by a fine Williamson save, as United, who were far from pretty at times, did a professional job on a resilient Welders to book their spot in the final eight.
United make the trip up the road for the first derby game of the season on Saturday, kicking off at 3:00pm. For ticket details please read here.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Ross Redman, Owen McKeown, Ryan Waide, Kenneth Kane ( Brendan Barr 46), Jack Henderson ( Spencer Beattie 78), Christopher Rodgers, Daniel Bramall, Conor Keeley, Leroy Millar, Jonte Smith ( Paul McElroy 67).

Subs not used: Samuel Johnston, Lee Chapman, Caolan Loughran.