Ballymena United 1 - 3 Glentoran

League Cup - Round 3 - Leg 1
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008, 7:45 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Referee: Paddy McFadden (Londonderry)
Ballymena United  Glentoran

Goalscorers
Paul McNeill (89)
Grant Gardiner (11)
Darren Boyce (24)
Darren Boyce (47)

Team Managers
Roy Walker
Alan McDonald

Starting Eleven
Alan Blayney
Aaron Stewart
Albert Watson
Lee Colligan
Aidan Watson
Gavin Melaugh
Joe McDonnell
Mark Picking
Stuart King
Kevin Kelbie
Michael Ward
Elliott Morris
Jason Hill
Paul Leeman
Shane McCabe
Sean Ward
Daryl Fordyce
Michael Halliday
Andrew Waterworth
Darren Boyce
Grant Gardiner
Jaimie McGovern

Substitutes
Christopher Getty
Liam Mullan
Ryan Deans
David Cushley
Paul McNeill
Kyle Neill
Gary Hamilton
Ryan Berry
James Taylor
Jonathan Taylor

Substitutions
Christopher Getty for Albert Watson (45)
Paul McNeill for Michael Ward (72)
Ryan Deans for Gavin Melaugh (74)
Ryan Berry for Michael Halliday (76)

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Alan Blayney (GK) 11 apps -
Lee Colligan 7 apps -
Aaron Stewart 7 apps -
Albert Watson 226 apps8 goals
Mark Picking 79 apps11 goals
Stuart King 102 apps8 goals
Aidan Watson 85 apps3 goals
Joe McDonnell 10 apps -
Gavin Melaugh 53 apps4 goals
Kevin Kelbie 117 apps54 goals
Michael Ward 19 apps -
Christopher Getty (sub) 2 apps -
Ryan Deans (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Paul McNeill (sub) 7 apps2 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Aaron Stewart (18 years 335 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (32 years 324 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 166 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Aaron Stewart (18 years 335 days)
Oldest Player:Liam Mullan (2010 years 91 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 113 days
Domestic Players:15 (93.75 % of matchday squad)

BALLYMENA United manager Roy Walker has conceded that his side faces an uphill struggle to stay in the Co-operative Insurance Cup after defeat in Wednesday night's first leg.

The Sky Blues will travel to the Oval next Tuesday trailing by two goals, despite a late strike by substitute Paul McNeill and they could also be without defender Albert Watson, who was stretchered off with a serious-looking ankle injury.

"We were back to the bad habits of earlier in the season with the goals we gave away," said Walker.

We need to learn to be bold and get up and defend on the halfway line because the gap between defenders and midfield was too great. It left a gaping hole and Glentoran have clever players who could exploit that.

The upside is that we kept plugging away but the game changes on wee things, like when Kevin Kelbie missed a great chance to make it 1-1 - an open goal - and Glentoran went straight up and made it 2-0," added Walker.

Glentoran took an 11th minute lead when Gardiner slotted a free kick through a gap in the United wall after Shane McCabe had been brought down just outside the penalty area.

Ballymena should have equalised on 22 minutes when Glens keeper Elliott Morris' scuffed clearance from outside the area fell to Michael Ward but when he teed up strike partner Kevin Kelbie, the Scot's attempted chip sailed agonisingly wide of an unguarded net.

That proved a costly miss as within 90 seconds, the visitors had doubled their advantage.

Albert Watson's attempted back header fell well short of its target and Boyce enjoyed a fortuitous ricochet off advancing keeper Alan Blayney before stepping past the United stopper and rolling the ball home.

Ballymena's problems intensified just before the interval when they lost defender Albert Watson, stretchered off with an ankle injury following a challenge by Gardiner.

"Albert had a bit of swelling and numbness around the ankle and he went to hospital for a precautionary x-ray.

"The lad (Grant Gardiner) won the ball in the tackle but it was his trailing leg which caught Albert.

The game was over as a contest two minutes after the restart when a long through ball caught the Ballymena defence square and after Lee Colligan appeared to bring down Daryl Fordyce, referee Paddy McFadden played the advantage as the ball broke to Boyce to stroke home his side's third.

United kept pressing and were rewarded in the 89th minute when Mark Picking's deflected shot was touched onto the post by Elliott Morris and substitute Paul McNeill was on hand to fire home the loose ball.

It was local lad McNeill's first appearance this season, while Walker also gave Ryan Deans, last season's Youth Team Player of the Year, his debut as a 74th minute sub.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

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