Ballymena United 0 - 0 Crusaders

League Cup - Group Stage
Saturday, August 12th, 2006, 3:00 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Referee: Paddy McFadden (Londonderry)
Ballymena United  Crusaders

Goalscorers
None. None.

Team Managers
Tommy Wright
Stephen Baxter

Starting Eleven
Paul Murphy
Aaron Callaghan
Albert Watson
Craig McClean
Aidan Watson
Andrew Rosbotham
Gary Haveron
Lee Patrick
Mark Picking
Kevin Kelbie
Paul Brown
Neil Armstrong
David Magowan
Stephen McBride
Raymond Campbell
Barry Spence
Colin Coates
David Munster
Chris Morrow
Darren Stirling
David Larmour
Ciaran Gargan

Substitutes
Dominic Melly
Garth Scates
Austin Friel
Anthony Crawford
Eamon McAllister
Colin Beggs

Substitutions
Garth Scates for Lee Patrick (54)
Dominic Melly for Andrew Rosbotham (65)
Austin Friel for Mark Picking (70)
Anthony Crawford for David Magowan (83)
Eamon McAllister for Raymond Campbell

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
Paul Brown (76)
Stephen McBride (80)
Appearances & Goals To Date
Paul Murphy (GK) 1 app (debut) -
Craig McClean 34 apps -
Albert Watson 136 apps4 goals
Aaron Callaghan 1 app (debut) -
Gary Haveron 44 apps4 goals
Andrew Rosbotham 28 apps2 goals
Aidan Watson 32 apps3 goals
Lee Patrick 24 apps1 goal
Mark Picking 1 app (debut) -
Kevin Kelbie 32 apps16 goals
Paul Brown 11 apps2 goals
Dominic Melly (sub) 46 apps5 goals
Garth Scates (sub) 92 apps6 goals
Austin Friel (sub) 1 app (debut) -

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Andrew Rosbotham (19 years 156 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (30 years 245 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 80 days
Domestic Players:9 (81.82 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Dominic Melly (19 years 29 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (30 years 245 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 119 days
Domestic Players:12 (85.71 % of matchday squad)

BALLYMENA United had to settle for a share of the spoils from a scoreless draw in their opening CIS Cup encounter with Crusaders at the Showgrounds.

The Sky Blues were often second best against the newly-promoted Crues in a game where both sides finished with 10 men.

Paul Brown was dismissed for alleged violent conduct after a tangle with Barry Spence with 14 minutes left while Crusaders' Stephen McBride joined him in the sin-bin four minutes from the end following an off-the-ball altercation with Austin Friel.

United manager Tommy Wright conceded: "Crusaders looked hungrier than we did and that was a disappointment.

"But we have managed to come away with a point after not playing well and with Limavady and Portadown also drawing, the group remains wide open. We'll be concentrating this week on improving our performance before we go to Portadown next Saturday."

The visitors, on their return to senior football, bossed the early stages and could have gone ahead as early as the fourth minute. A quickly-taken free kick down the left saw Ciaran Gargan's cross diverted onto the crossbar by David Larmour and from the follow-up, Chris Morrow fired over when well-placed.

Morrow was involved in the Crues' next chance on 11 minutes when his delightful lay-off fell into the path of Darren Stirling but his first-time effort went narrowly wide.

It took Ballymena 14 minutes to carve out an opening when Paul Brown should have done much better than to head Andrew Rosbotham's free kick over the bar from 10 yards.

United's best chance of the half came on 34 minutes. Craig McClean took a throw-in on the left which was helped on by brown into the path of Lee Patrick. The midfielder steadied himself and tried to curl a measured shot into the far corner but his carefully placed effort went just the wrong side of the post.

Paul Murphy excelled once again before the break when he kept out Stirling's mis-hit effort at full stretch and the keeper pulled off another great save on 66 minutes, keeping out Larmour's header from sub Eamon McAllister's cross.

The second half grew progressively more scrappy and came to the boil on 76 minutes. Brown and defender Barry Spence tangled as they contested a loose ball and as the pair attempted to free themselves, Spence ended up on the ground.

Referee Paddy McFadden had his attention drawn to the incident by assistant David Redfern and brandished a red card, to the disbelief of the home fans.

The same fate befell Crues' left-back McBride with four minutes left after an off-the-ball incident but the visitors still had time to fashion out a late chance, Larmour screwing a shot wide when well-placed deep into injury time.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

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