Ballymena United 0 - 1 Dungannon Swifts

League Cup - Group Stage
Thursday, August 23rd, 2007, 7:45 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey)
Ballymena United  Dungannon Swifts

None. Matthew Walton (82)

Team Managers
Tommy Wright
Harry Fay

Starting Eleven
Paul Murphy
Aaron Callaghan
Craig McClean
Simon Kelly
Aidan Watson
Garth Scates
Gary Haveron
Mark Picking
Stuart King
Darren Fitzgerald
Paul Brown
Dwayne Nelson
Mark McConkey
JP Gallagher
Adam McMinn
John Curran
Niall McGinn
Shane McCabe
Dwayne McManus
Shea Campbell
Mark McAllister
Mark Magennis

Sean O'Neill
Thomas Wray
Lee Patrick
Stephen Lowry
Randal Reid
Michael Hegarty
Austin Friel
Matthew Walton

Stephen Lowry for Stuart King (64)
Randal Reid for Darren Fitzgerald (75)
Lee Patrick for Craig McClean (83)

Stuart King (21)
Aidan Watson (42)
Mark Picking (55)
Simon Kelly (73)
Garth Scates (77)
Gary Haveron (87)
Shane McCabe (23)
Shea Campbell (90)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Paul Murphy (GK) 43 apps -
Aaron Callaghan 42 apps -
Simon Kelly 16 apps1 goal
Craig McClean 62 apps -
Mark Picking 42 apps8 goals
Gary Haveron 79 apps9 goals
Garth Scates 132 apps14 goals
Aidan Watson 63 apps3 goals
Stuart King 62 apps5 goals
Darren Fitzgerald 41 apps9 goals
Paul Brown 36 apps6 goals
Lee Patrick (sub) 51 apps6 goals
Stephen Lowry (sub) 13 apps -
Randal Reid (sub) 18 apps3 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Aidan Watson (21 years 9 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (31 years 256 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 161 days
Domestic Players:10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Sean O'Neill (19 years 138 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (31 years 256 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 236 days
Domestic Players:15 (93.75 % of matchday squad)

A STUNNING strike from American winger Matt Walton threw Group A of the CIS Insurance League Cup wide open on Thursday night.

The Sky Blues went down by a single goal to Dungannon Swifts on matchday three of the competition, and now face an uphill struggle of qualifying for the quarter finals for the first time in three years, as the Braidmen currently sit bottom of the four team group.

Albert Watson's automatic suspension after being sent-off against Glenavon meant a reshuffle in defence, with Gary Haveron captaining the side in Ballymena's first home game of the new campaign.

A fairly even first half at the Showgrounds saw United create the first chance after just five minutes, although Paul Brown's tame header was easily stopped by former Ballymena custodian, Dwayne Nelson.

Shea Campbell was lively in his return to Warden Street after his summer move to Dungannon Swifts from his hometown club, Armagh City. He fired a free-kick just wide after Sean McCabe was halted by Stuart King on the edge of the penalty area just after the twenty minute mark.

The best chance of the half fell to Swifts' midfielder Mark Magennis, who fired agonisingly wide after Shea Campbell had dispossessed the slacking Aaron Callaghan in the United defence.

Ballymena continued to press forward, but failed to register any meaningful attempts on goal, whilst Dungannon's attacks were predominately instigated by careless football from the home side.

The second half exploded into action, when Shea Campbell had another golden chance to break the deadlock as he intercepted a poor Craig McClean pass - and broke through but could only fire his strike straight at the capable Paul Murphy in the home goal.

Ballymena's best chance of the game fell to Garth Scates, as he rifled a Dungannon clearance back towards goal, which took a slight deflection of Aidan Watson, forcing Nelson to make a very quick change in direction to save the goal-bound effort.

Mark McAllister hit the side-netting for the visitors and United substitute Stephen Lowry, recently returned from the World Student Games in Thailand also firing wide of the mark.

Swifts boss Harry Fay brought on his new American signing for his second Irish League game and after being on the pitch for four minutes. Aidan Watson's clearance from a corner fell to the Washington born winger on the edge of the box and he took a touch before launching the ball into the top corner, leaving Murphy stranded.

Tommy Wright (pictured) told the Ballymena Times after the game, "It was a game which had nil-nil written over it because neither keeper was extended but we've been caught with a great goal although from our point of view, we should have done better with it."

"It was a great strike but I thought we had all the pressure second half. Most of their chances came from our poor play. "

"We didn't deserve to win it but I thought we had more pressure and the ball spent more time in their penalty box than ours. We put some great crosses but we had nobody on the end of them."

This was Ballymena United's first home defeat since December 2006, when United lost 3-2 to Coleraine. The Skies' next game will be the start of their County Antrim Shield campaign next Tuesday night against Orangefield OB.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

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