Ballymena United 3 - 1 Carrick Rangers

League - NIFL Premiership
Saturday, January 28th, 2017, 3:00 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 955
Referee: Steven Taylor
Ballymena United  Carrick Rangers

Goalscorers
Cathair Friel (8)
Cathair Friel (88)
Jonathan McMurray (90)
Patrick McNally (54)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Aaron Callaghan

Starting Eleven
Ross Glendinning
Jim Ervin
Jonathan Flynn
Kyle Owens
Tony Kane
Allan Jenkins
Conor McCloskey
Leroy Millar
Cathair Friel
Jonathan McMurray
Joseph McKinney
Brian Neeson
Lee Chapman
Seanna Foster
Patrick McNally
Steven McCullough
Daniel Kelly
Glenn Taggart
Sean Noble
Eamon McAllister
Martin Murray
Sam O'Connor

Substitutes
Tim Allen
Daniel Wallace
Eoin Kane
William Faulkner
Neil Lowry
TJ Murray
Mark Surgenor
Toyeeb Mustapha
Fra Rice
Chris Morrow

Substitutions
William Faulkner for Joseph McKinney (69)
Neil Lowry for Conor McCloskey (78)
TJ Murray for Sam O'Connor (65)
Chris Morrow for Eamon McAllister (75)
Toyeeb Mustapha for Patrick McNally (77)

Bookings
Conor McCloskey (25)
Sean Noble (67)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ross Glendinning (GK) 20 apps -
Jonathan Flynn 25 apps1 goal
Kyle Owens 32 apps5 goals
Tony Kane 222 apps28 goals
Jim Ervin 112 apps2 goals
Conor McCloskey 19 apps2 goals
Leroy Millar 44 apps2 goals
Allan Jenkins 238 apps48 goals
Joseph McKinney 3 apps -
Cathair Friel 33 apps19 goals
Jonathan McMurray 28 apps11 goals
William Faulkner (sub) 63 apps10 goals
Neil Lowry (sub) 60 apps3 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Leroy Millar (21 years 155 days)
Oldest Player:Allan Jenkins (35 years 122 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 51 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Eoin Kane (21 years 24 days)
Oldest Player:Allan Jenkins (35 years 122 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 143 days
Domestic Players:14 (87.50 % of matchday squad)

BALLYMENA United scored twice late on to grab a 3-1 victory over Carrick Rangers at the Showgrounds.

Ballymena came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the game with a flurry of chances. A corner from Tony Kane in the game's first play was headed into the six yard box by Johnny Flynn towards Kyle Owens, but the defender could only head over.

Minutes later Johnny McMurray found himself in a good shooting opportunity, but Carrick 'keeper Brian Neeson got down well to stop the shot.

With 8 minutes on the clock, the Sky Blues took the lead through Cathair Friel. Joe McKinney did well on the left hand side to break free and he fired a low ball across goal to Friel at the back post, who easily netted for his 13th league goal of the season.

Friel was presented with a great opportunity shortly after to double his tally for the day when the ball was cleared only as far as Friel who was 10 yards out, but he fired his volley well over. The away side's first real chance came on 25 minutes. A dangerous corner came to Daniel Kelly with a free header, but he saw his effort deflected over for another corner, which came to nothing.

Ballymena then missed more chances at the end of the half. First a Kane free kick was knocked down by Owens to McKinney, who found himself unmarked, but Neeson made the save. Shortly after, Kane set Conor McCloskey free, but his shot was well kept out by a one handed Neeson save. The rebound fell to Leroy Millar, but Paddy McNally did enough to put him off.

The second half couldn't have started more differently to the first as Carrick came out the brighter of the sides. Sean Noble found himself free at the back post and managed to get a shot away but Ross Glendinning made a great stop before Leroy Millar eventually cleared on the line.

Despite Ballymena struggling to get a hold on the half, captain Jim Ervin went close on 51 minutes when he ran onto a loose ball, but his shot from outside the box went just wide. Ballymena were made to pay for their missed first half chances on 53 minutes when Carrick levelled. A corner was met by former United player McNally and he came back to haunt his former employers as he headed home past Glendinning.

Inside the final 20 minutes Ballymena pushed again to find their second goal. A good run from substitute Neil Lowry ended with a cross to McMurray, but he headed the great chance wide. McMurray then saw the ball fall nicely for him inside the box and he found himself one on one with Neeson, but the 'keeper came out on top. Ballymena finally regained the lead in the 87th minute when Friel grabbed his second of the game. A game of ping- pong developed in the box before the ball eventually came to Friel, who fired low and hard to score despite Neeson's best efforts.

The goal broke Carrick's resistance completely as Ballymena went on to score a third in added time. Lowry did well again on the right hand side to get to the by-line and his cutback was parried by Neeson to McMurray who bundled the ball over the line to give Ballymena victory in the dress rehearsal ahead of the League Cup final.

Match report written by Phillip McPeake



Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 27 20 5 2 60 22 38 65
2. Linfield 27 17 7 3 60 19 41 58
3. Cliftonville 27 16 4 7 45 28 17 52
4. Coleraine 27 13 7 7 41 29 12 46
5. Ballymena United 27 14 3 10 57 56 1 45
6. Glenavon 27 9 10 8 41 41 0 37
7. Dungannon Swifts 27 9 8 10 46 42 4 35
8. Glentoran 27 8 7 12 32 40 -8 31
9. Ards 27 7 5 15 38 50 -12 26
10. Ballinamallard United 27 7 5 15 31 51 -20 26
11. Carrick Rangers 27 3 5 19 19 57 -38 14
12. Portadown 27 5 2 20 19 54 -35 5
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