Warrenpoint Town 1 - 1 Ballymena United

League - NIFL Premiership
Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, 7:45 PM at Milltown
Referee: Jamie Robinson
Warrenpoint Town Ballymena United

Goalscorers
Adam Carroll (38) Joseph McCready (8)

Team Managers
Barry Gray David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
Gabriel Sava
Steven Ball
Dermot McVeigh
Kealan Dillon
Alan O'Sullivan
Luke Gallagher
Adam Carroll
Ben Mullen
Ryan Swan
Daniel Wallace
Brandon Doyle
Jordan Williamson
Conor Keeley
Joshua Kelly
Ross Redman
Tony Kane
Trai Hume
Ben Wylie
Jude Winchester
Sean Graham
Joseph McCready
Ryan Waide

Bench
Stephen McMullan
Jake O'Connor
Francis McCaffrey
Kris Cowan
Stuart Hutchinson
Adam Evans
David Forsythe
Ross Glendinning
Jim Ervin
Owen McKeown
Ryan Harpur
Spencer Beattie
Paul McElroy
Shay McCartan

Substitutions
Jake O'Connor for Ryan Swan (72)
Francis McCaffrey for Brandon Doyle (84)
Paul McElroy for Joseph McCready (69)
Shay McCartan for Ben Wylie (75)

Bookings
Kealan Dillon (70) Trai Hume (87)
Jude Winchester (90)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Jordan Williamson (GK) 32 apps -
Tony Kane 353 apps49 goals
Conor Keeley 11 apps -
Joshua Kelly 54 apps3 goals
Ross Redman 24 apps2 goals
Trai Hume 22 apps1 goal
Jude Winchester 82 apps10 goals
Ben Wylie 9 apps -
Sean Graham 7 apps -
Ryan Waide 21 apps -
Joseph McCready 21 apps3 goals
Paul McElroy (sub) 24 apps8 goals
Shay McCartan (sub) 22 apps8 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Ben Wylie (18 years 265 days)
Oldest Player:Tony Kane (33 years 208 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 326 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Ben Wylie (18 years 265 days)
Oldest Player:Jim Ervin (35 years 293 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 330 days
Domestic Players:17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)

THE first meeting of two this week between Ballymena United and Warrenpoint ended level as the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Milltown on Tuesday night.

With United continuing to juggle games every Tuesday and Saturday, there were four changes to the starting team that faced Portadown, including rests for Saturday's goalscorers Paul McElroy and Shay McCartan, who were on the bench.

It was a fast paced start at Milltown and inside three minutes Ballymena could easily have found themselves ahead. Tony Kane's whipped free kick from wide found Trai Hume in acres of space in the box, but the returning defender could only glance a header wide.

Five minutes later Ballymena did find the opening goal of the game as Joe McCready produced a moment of magic with a stunning goal. Ben Wylie and Jude Winchester shared some great play between them in the left corner and Winchester showed quick feet to find McCready who did the rest. From a tight angle just inside the box McCready opened up his body and curled a delightful effort into the far top corner.

The Braidmen's lead was almost wiped out within two minutes when The Point struck the post. Alan O'Sullivan laid the ball out to Ryan Swan who was arriving into the box on the right, and after no flag went up he saw his shot come back off the woodwork and into Jordan Williamson's grateful arms.

Ballymena continued to hold the upper hand after a frantic couple of minutes and probably should've doubled their lead on twenty-one minutes. Ryan Waide saw a shot from distance half-saved by Gabriel Sava, with the rebound falling for Winchester. Despite Sava making a fantastic stop to deny the midfielder, Winchester will surely feel he should've made it 2-0. Even after having a guilt edge chance pass him by, Winchester was continuing the fine form he's shown in recent weeks and after the hosts went to sleep on a corner, the midfield saw an effort come back off the post.

Warrenpoint were always dangerous when they attacked and a bright five minute spell eventually yielded an equaliser. Before the goal, an O'Sullivan ball across goal somehow wasn't turned home by Swan at close range, with United finally clearing. Ballymena had an even bigger scare shortly afterwards when Sean Graham and Williamson got their wires crossed. Graham played the ball back to Williamson, but was unaware the 'keeper wasn't on his line, and as everyone watched on helplessly the ball trickled inches wide from what would've been a disastrous own goal.

However, in the long run the Sky Blues weren't that fortunate as Warrenpoint levelled from the corner. Kealan Dillon's cross was into a dangerous area and Adam Carroll was there to nod home his first league goal this season.

Ballymena tried to retake the lead before the break when McCready found Kane on the edge of the box and he had time to pick his spot but was denied by Sava, as an entertaining half ended level.

Warrenpoint started the better of the two in the second half and had United on the ropes on a couple of occasions early on. First, Daniel Wallace's low ball across goal looked certain to be finished at the back post by a free Luke Gallagher, but an awkward bobble took the ball past his boot. Then, Carroll showed great pace to get in behind Ross Redman and his strike on the bounce moved in the air causing Williamson to spill, but then gather well.

After McCready had given Ballymena's defence a breather by hitting a low shot which Sava easily saved, Warrenpoint will be wondering how they didn't take the lead on fifty-eight minutes. Another low ball from the left was turned goalwards by Swan, only for Williamson to save well. The rebound fell nicely for Carroll who simply had to score, but instead his shot came off the inside of the post and across the goal-line to the other post, were for the second time Ballymena were thankful for the ball to go straight into Williamson's hands, just before the ball crossed the line.

After surviving the closest of shaves, the Sky Blues were probably happy for the game to become scrappy in the ten minutes that followed. David Jeffrey looked to try and inject something into Ballymena in the second half when he brought McElroy into the game in place of McCready, before McCartan replaced Ben Wylie.

As the game entered the final ten minutes both sides sensed a chance to take all three points, but neither had the quality in the final third to make it happen, as a game of two halves ended in a fair draw to extend Ballymena's unbeaten run to six games.

Match report written by Philip McPeake

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Linfield 25 17 3 5 63 25 38 54
2. Coleraine 23 14 4 5 37 22 15 46
3. Larne 24 12 7 5 40 24 16 43
4. Glentoran 23 11 6 6 39 20 19 39
5. Crusaders 24 12 3 9 43 30 13 39
6. Cliftonville 25 11 6 8 36 29 7 39
7. Ballymena United 24 10 5 9 33 26 7 35
8. Glenavon 23 9 7 7 36 38 -2 34
9. Warrenpoint Town 23 6 6 11 23 40 -17 24
10. Portadown 22 3 6 13 25 47 -22 15
11. Carrick Rangers 23 3 4 16 20 58 -38 13
12. Dungannon Swifts 23 3 3 17 14 50 -36 12
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