Coleraine 0 - 1 Ballymena United

League - NIFL Premiership
Friday, October 16th, 2020, 7:45 PM at Coleraine Showgrounds
Attendance: 450
Referee: Andrew Davey
Coleraine Ballymena United

None. Kofi Balmer (27)

Team Managers
Oran Kearney David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
Gareth Deane
Lyndon Kane
Ben Doherty
Stephen Lowry
James McLaughlin
Joshua Carson
Gareth McConaghie
Evan Tweed
Stephen O'Donnell
Jamie Glackin
Stewart Nixon
Ross Glendinning
Ciaran Kelly
Joshua Kelly
Kofi Balmer
Ross Redman
Steven McCullough
Trai Hume
Leroy Millar
Paul McElroy
Ryan Waide
Shay McCartan

Martin Gallagher
Steven Douglas
Ronan Wilson
Ian Parkhill
Curtis Allen
Lewis Tosh
Robert McLean
Jordan Williamson
Jonathan Addis
Tony Kane
Jude Winchester
Owen McKeown
Ryan Harpur
Kenneth Kane

Curtis Allen for Stephen O'Donnell (69)
Ian Parkhill for Stewart Nixon (83)
Ryan Harpur for Shay McCartan (74)
Jonathan Addis for Kofi Balmer (78)

Jamie Glackin (69)
Lyndon Kane (82)

Red Cards
None. Joshua Kelly (43)
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ross Glendinning (GK) 143 apps -
Ciaran Kelly 1 app (debut) -
Ross Redman 1 app (debut) -
Joshua Kelly 33 apps2 goals
Kofi Balmer 88 apps5 goals
Steven McCullough 129 apps5 goals
Trai Hume 1 app (debut) -
Leroy Millar 168 apps24 goals
Ryan Waide 1 app (debut) -
Shay McCartan 1 app (debut) -
Paul McElroy 1 app (debut) -
Jonathan Addis (sub) 81 apps5 goals
Ryan Harpur (sub) 27 apps2 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Trai Hume (18 years 217 days)
Oldest Player:Ross Redman (30 years 335 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 55 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Trai Hume (18 years 217 days)
Oldest Player:Tony Kane (33 years 57 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 128 days
Domestic Players:17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)

10-MAN Ballymena United kicked off the long awaited start to the new Danske Bank Irish Premiership seaon with a 1-0 win over rivals Coleraine at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

It had been 223 days since the last top flight league game took place, with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic bringing a premature ending to last season, and delaying the start of this one.

United gave six of their new signings debut's, including Shay McCartan, while Leroy Millar captained off the back of his new contract in the week. The game kicked off in front of a few hundred home fans, despite confusion just before kick off over whether the fans should be there.

Coleraine started brightly in front of their fans and early on Ben Doherty's free kick flew over the crossbar. From there it was a measured approach from both teams as they felt their way into the new season, with Ballymena going closest through Coleraine's Stephen O'Donnell when he almost headed into his own net.

Ballymena soon began to get going and on 27 minutes McCartan, fresh from playing in England's football league, showed his quality to beat two men before seeing an effort well saved by Gareth Deane. The resulting corner provided the first league goal of the season as Steven McCullough's ball found Kofi Balmer who powered a header home.

The Bannsiders looked to reply quickly and went close when a throw in was flicked goalwards by James McLaughlin, but new loanee Trai Hume did well to clear on the line. Ballymena showed plenty of attacking endeavor throughout the first half and looked an impressive outfit and just before half-time a bit of a scramble in the box ended with Millar's shot being stopped by Deane.

All of the Braidmen's good first half work threathened to be undone on 43 minutes when Josh Kelly was harshly sent off for a routine attack-stopping challenge on Stewart Nixon. Referee Andrew Davey had been set to give a yellow card to Kelly, before a late change of mind, as a good half ended sourly for the visitors.

The second half would turn out to be a back to the wall's exercise for Ballymena as Coleraine looked to take advantage of the extra man. From the off it was constant Coleraine pressure with Doherty going close before Ross Glendinning saved from Nixon and McLaughlin fired the rebound over. Those chances were the start of a ten minute spell were Coleraine had a barrage of chances. First Evan Tweed saw an effort easily gathered by Glendinning, and then Coleraine went even closer when McLaughlin struck the post from a tight angle, with Josh Carson's thunderous rebound destined to go in before an outstanding block on the line from an outstanding Hume.

The hosts' chances didn't stop there when shortly after McLaughlin somehow fired over at the back post from a long throw in. Ballymena finally got themselves some respite from their staunch defending when Hume found Ryan Waide who, not for the first time, showed some dazzling feet to beat his man, only to hit the side netting.

McCartan and Balmer made way for Ryan Harpur and Jonny Addis as the Sky Blues looked to tighten up further. Coleraine brought on Iain Parkhill and within seconds he could've scored with his first touch, but from six yards he was denied by a top drawer Addis block. Addis' block resulted in a corner, which Stephen Lowry headed over.

At the beginning of three minutes of added time there was a moment of more confusion when it initially looked like Coleraine had been awarded a penalty when Glendinning punched the ball clear from McLaughlin, only for United to be thankful a goal kick had in fact rightly been given to help Ballymena see out the win.

An impressive attacking first half display matched by impressive defending in the second half from United who kick off a season like no other in the best possible way for the Sky Blues at home.

Match report written by Philip McPeake

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Ballymena United 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 3
2. Coleraine 1 0 0 1 0 1 -1 0
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