Ballymena United 2 - 1 Dungannon Swifts

League - NIFL Premiership
Saturday, November 18th, 2017, 3:00 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 748
Referee: Steven Gregg
Ballymena United  Dungannon Swifts

Goalscorers
Jonathan McMurray (42)
Gary Thompson (88)
Ryan Harpur (52)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Rodney McAree

Starting Eleven
Ross Glendinning
Emmet Friars
Jim Ervin
Kofi Balmer
Steven McCullough
Tony Kane
Conor McCloskey
Gary Thompson
Leroy Millar
Cathair Friel
Jonathan McMurray
Andrew Coleman
Douglas Wilson
Peter McMahon
Ryan Harpur
Ryan Mayse
Liam McMenamin
Kris Lowe
Seanan Clucas
Alan Teggart
Cormac Burke
Jonathan Lafferty

Substitutes
Kyle Owens
Francis McCaffrey
Michael Gault
Joseph McKinney
Matthew Shevlin
Terry Fitzpatrick
Thomas Lockart
Rhys Campbell
Stuart Addis
Caolin Coyle

Substitutions
Francis McCaffrey for Leroy Millar (27)
Matthew Shevlin for Conor McCloskey (85)
Thomas Lockhart for Cormac Burke (75)
Terry Fitzpatrick for Jonathan Lafferty (85)
Rhys Campbell for Alan Teggart (90)

Bookings
Gary Thompson (67)
Jonathan McMurray (90)
Cormac Burke (31)
Seanan Clucas (40)
Ryan Mayse (45)
Jonathan Lafferty (81)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ross Glendinning (GK) 43 apps -
Steven McCullough 17 apps -
Emmet Friars 11 apps2 goals
Tony Kane 250 apps36 goals
Kofi Balmer 5 apps1 goal
Jim Ervin 148 apps2 goals
Leroy Millar 75 apps6 goals
Gary Thompson 190 apps21 goals
Conor McCloskey 53 apps8 goals
Jonathan McMurray 50 apps20 goals
Cathair Friel 68 apps33 goals
Francis McCaffrey (sub) 34 apps6 goals
Matthew Shevlin (sub) 42 apps7 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Kofi Balmer (17 years 64 days)
Oldest Player:Jim Ervin (32 years 174 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 268 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Kofi Balmer (17 years 64 days)
Oldest Player:Michael Gault (34 years 226 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 240 days
Domestic Players:16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

Ballymena United left it late again to beat Dungannon Swifts 2-1 at The Showgrounds, thanks to a Gary Thompson winner.

It was a fairly ordinary start to the game in terms of real quality, but United started the better. Johnny McMurray found Gary Thompson early on, but from distance the midfielder's shot sailed well over. On 7 minutes Thompson repaid the favour, this time supplying McMurray, but Dungannon's Seanan Clucas made a good last ditch challenge. In the next attack Ballymena rattled The Swifts' woodwork. Leroy Millar's corner was met at the front post by Cathair Friel, whose header came back off the crossbar, before being cleared.

Fresh from his midweek winner against Ards, Tony Kane tried the spectactular again with an improvised overhead kick on the edge of the box, but after teeing himself up, his shot was easily caught by Andrew Coleman. Dungannon's first real chance to threaten Ross Glendinning's goal came on 12 minutes when Peter McMahon got on the end of a flick on, but Emmett Friars did brilliantly to stop McMahon from getting a shot away. At the other end, a free kick from Millar was cleared as far as Conor McCloskey, but he couldn't keep his volley down.

The Sky Blues were forced into a change on 27 minutes when Millar picked up an injury, and after a couple of minutes treatment he was replaced by Fra McCaffrey. Coleman pulled off a great save to deny McCloskey on the half hour mark. McMurray took the ball down well out of the air and passed to McCloskey, who cut inside and unleashed a shot which Coleman fantastically tipped over. Dungannon were arguably seeing more of the ball than Ballymena but the home side continued to create the better chances. Friel found himself unmarked in the box to meet a cross, but he headed wide.

With 5 minutes left in the half McMahon neatly played in Ryan Mayse with a lobbed ball but Mayse volleyed high and wide. On 42 minutes Ballymena broke the deadlock through McMurray. Clucas was booked for deliberately blocking a run from Friel and from the free kick, Kane delivered a great ball which was met by McMurray, with Coleman unable to get a strong enough hand on the ball to keep it out.

In the dying moments of the half Cormac Burke had an attempt easily saved by Glendinning. Then in added time it really should've been 2-0 to United. McCaffrey started a counter attack and found Thompson who had plenty of space to run into, before playing in McMurray, but with only 'keeper to beat McMurray blasted wide.
The second half saw real clear cut chances few and far between. Having missed a great chance at the end of the first half, McMurray again found himself one on one with Coleman at the start of the second. McCaffrey found the forward with a great ball but Coleman came out on top, saving McMurray's attempt. McCaffrey's hooked rebound from distance also went close, landing on the roof of the Dungannon goal. 7 minutes into the half The Swifts grabbed an equaliser. Burke was allowed to whip the ball in from the left hand side, and his deep cross to the back post was met by the completely unmarked Swifts captain Ryan Harpur, who headed home.

Johnny Lafferty tried his luck straight after the equaliser to put the visitors ahead, but after beating two United players, his shot was easily dealt with by Glendinning. The next 20 minutes were mostly played in the middle of the park with neither side able to break through the other. In a rare chance Ballymena played the ball across the field from McMurray to Kane and then to McCloskey, who cut inside before disappointingly dragging his shot wide. With 11 minutes left Dungannon went agonisingly close to going in front when they struck the post. A cross from sub Tommy Lockhart was met by Lafferty at the back post but his shot came back off the post, with Kane blocking the follow up.

On 84 minutes United almost went back in front when McCloskey played in McMurray, but his shot was well saved by Coleman, and McCaffrey just couldn't quite reach the rebound before it went out of play. However with just 2 minutes left Ballymena grabbed their second dramatic winner in 4 days when Thompson put the home side in front. McMurray headed a Kane corner onto the post but luckily the ball landed at the feet of Thompson who simply tapped the ball home for his second in as many games.

In the final minute of 3 added on Dungannon were given the chance to throw the ball into the box when McMurray was booked for a foul. The cross was dealt with by Glendinning as United picked up 3 valuable points to extend their unbeaten run to 6.

Match report written by Philip McPeake

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Coleraine 15 12 2 1 33 12 21 38
2. Glenavon 15 11 3 1 45 18 27 36
3. Crusaders 14 10 2 2 43 15 28 32
4. Cliftonville 16 10 1 5 34 18 16 31
5. Linfield 15 10 0 5 35 16 19 30
6. Glentoran 16 7 4 5 20 20 0 25
7. Ballymena United 16 6 3 7 26 34 -8 21
8. Dungannon Swifts 15 5 2 8 15 26 -11 17
9. Warrenpoint Town 16 3 2 11 20 36 -16 11
10. Ards 15 3 1 11 13 31 -18 10
11. Carrick Rangers 15 2 3 10 10 31 -21 9
12. Ballinamallard United 16 1 1 14 10 47 -37 4
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