Ballymena United 4 - 1 Lurgan Celtic

League Cup - Round 2
Monday, August 27th, 2012, 7:45 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 400
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)
Ballymena United  Lurgan Celtic

Goalscorers
Neil Lowry (16)
Gary Thompson (59)
Allan Jenkins (68)
James McCabe (76)
None.

Team Managers
Glenn Ferguson
Unknown.

Starting Eleven
Dwayne Nelson
David Munster
Jonathan Taylor
Michael Ruddy
Richard Vauls
Allan Jenkins
Gary Thompson
Gavin Taggart
David Cushley
Jamie Davidson
Neil Lowry
Ciaran Fox
Declan McVeigh
Michael Toland
Shannon Drainey
Ronan O'Hara
Stephen Campbell
Ryan Murphy
Daniel Ryan
Raymond Fitzpatrick
Aaron Haire
Niall Lavery

Substitutes
Christopher Rodgers
Mark Surgenor
Tony Kane
James McCabe
Peter Duffin
Jonathan McAlinden
Ciaran Ryan
Shane McCabe

Substitutions
Peter Duffin for David Cushley (61)
Tony Kane for Richard Vauls (64)
James McCabe for Jamie Davidson (74)
Jonathan McAlinden for Ryan Murphy (55)
Ciaran Ryan for Ronan O'Hara (74)
Shane McCabe for Shannon Drainey (81)

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Dwayne Nelson (GK) 122 apps -
Jonathan Taylor 17 apps1 goal
David Munster 34 apps4 goals
Richard Vauls 28 apps1 goal
Michael Ruddy 4 apps -
Gavin Taggart 88 apps3 goals
Allan Jenkins 45 apps10 goals
Gary Thompson 3 apps1 goal
Neil Lowry 15 apps1 goal
David Cushley 84 apps12 goals
Jamie Davidson 15 apps3 goals
Tony Kane (sub) 31 apps2 goals
Peter Duffin (sub) 1 app (debut) -
James McCabe (sub) 2 apps1 goal

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Jamie Davidson (18 years 245 days)
Oldest Player:David Munster (33 years 193 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 151 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Peter Duffin (18 years 162 days)
Oldest Player:David Munster (33 years 193 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 272 days
Domestic Players:15 (93.75 % of matchday squad)

BALLYMENA United sailed through to the Third Round of the Irn-Bru League Cup tonight with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Championship 2 side Lurgan Celtic at the Showgrounds.

The travelling support may have been in good voice, but it was United were on the offensive right from the off, with Jamie Davidson and David Cushley both guilty of poor misses when well placed to score inside the opening ten minutes.

Gavin Taggart came within a whisker of opening the scoring on 11 minutes, with a spectacular volley which was acrobatically palmed onto the cross bar and out for a throw by the Lurgan Celtic goalkeeper, Ciaran Fox.

The home side continued to probe and were rewarded with a well taken opener on 16 minutes, young striker Neil Lowry racing clear before slotting home coolly past the helpless Fox to put the Sky Blues a goal to the good.

Lowry almost doubled his account barely a minute later, forcing another smart save out of the busy man between the Lurgan sticks. United continued to exert pressure on the travelling defence for the rest of the half, and came close to a memorable second goal when David Cushley's low free-kick flashed just wide of the post.

Lurgan Celtic finally came to the fore early in the second half, and had justifiable claims for a penalty when the ball appeared to be handled in the United box. This served as a wake up call to the Sky Blues, Jamie Davidson going close after cutting in from the right before Gary Thompson bagged his first goal in a United shirt, after a precise shot from the inside the box which found the rear of the net courtesy of the inside of the post.

Just after the hour mark, boss Glenn Ferguson gave a debut to teenage midfielder Peter Duffin, in place of the impressive David Cushley.

United were in cruise control, causing the visitors tempers to flare as a rash tackle on Richard Vauls caused a fracas near the centre circle. This enraged the home support, with calls for a straight red to be shown to the Celtic number 4 after seemingly raising his hands during the ensuing melee.

The stricken United defender had to be taken off, and was replaced by Tony Kane with just over 20 minutes remaining. The home side were not to be deterred, and extended their advantage further on 69 minutes when a placed shot from the edge of the box by skipper Allan Jenkins found the net to the delight of the United fans.

The visitors refused to accept defeat, and redoubled their efforts on the United goal, a mix up involving Gavin Taggart and Dwayne Nelson resulted in Stefan Campbell netting a consolation for the Lurgan men.

Ferguson made his final change – striker James McCabe replacing the again impressive Jamie Davidson for his home debut. He did not disappoint, becoming the second player of the night to net his first goal for the club on 75 mins after the Lurgan defence went to sleep.

Safe progression to the Third Round assured, all eyes now turn to the draw on Wednesday afternoon when United will find out their next opponents. The Sky Blues are back in action this Friday night at the Showgrounds when they entertain struggling Lisburn Distillery. A repeat of tonight's performance and another four goal haul would do nicely!

Match report written by Jordan Miller

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