Ballymena United 1 - 0 Harland and Wolff Welders

Irish Cup - Round 5
Saturday, January 13th, 2007, 3:00 PM at Ballymena Showgrounds
Referee: Stephen Weatherall (Belfast)
Ballymena United  Harland and Wolff Welders

Goalscorers
Garth Scates (57)
None.

Team Managers
Tommy Wright
Tommy Leeman

Starting Eleven
Paul Murphy
Aaron Callaghan
Albert Watson
Craig McClean
Garth Scates
Gary Haveron
Lee Patrick
Mark Picking
Stuart King
Kevin Kelbie
Randal Reid
Thompson
Dickson
Davison
Spence
Emerson
Hanna
Hand
Cooper
Craig
Bell
Roy

Substitutes
Gavin Melaugh
Austin Friel
David Cushley
Stirling
Stewart
Aston

Substitutions
Austin Friel for Randal Reid (70)
Gavin Melaugh for Mark Picking (86)
Stewart for Bell (75)
Stirling for Emerson (75)

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Paul Murphy (GK) 25 apps -
Craig McClean 44 apps -
Albert Watson 159 apps5 goals
Aaron Callaghan 24 apps -
Gary Haveron 66 apps7 goals
Mark Picking 24 apps6 goals
Stuart King 49 apps4 goals
Garth Scates 115 apps9 goals
Lee Patrick 42 apps4 goals
Kevin Kelbie 54 apps24 goals
Randal Reid 12 apps3 goals
Gavin Melaugh (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Austin Friel (sub) 18 apps1 goal

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Randal Reid (20 years 192 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (31 years 34 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 85 days
Domestic Players:9 (81.82 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:David Cushley (17 years 179 days)
Oldest Player:Mark Picking (31 years 34 days)
Average Player Age:23 years 341 days
Domestic Players:12 (85.71 % of matchday squad)

BALLYMENA United have been given an excellent opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup after safely overcoming their opening hurdle today.

The Sky Blues saw off first division Harland and Wolff Welders 1-0 - and were rewarded with a draw against more non-senior opposition in the sixth round of the competition.

United will face either Mid-Ulster League Laurelvale or Amateur League outfit Comber Rec, who will replay on Tuesday after drawing their first instalment 0-0 today.

"Obviously it's a good draw for us to avoid senior opposition once again but we will have our homework done on whoever it is before the next round," said United boss Tommy Wright.

The manager felt his side were deserving winners against the gutsy Welders, but had to rely on Garth Scates' spectacular 57th minute strike to avoid a replay.

"We were a bit edgy in the first half but the second was one-way traffic and we should have won it more comfortably in the end," said Tommy.

The Showgrounds was battered by similar conditions to those which caused the postponement or abandonment of half-a-dozen other ties, with the entire match played in swirling winds and heavy rain.

And with conditions proving to be a great leveller, it was the welders who looked the better side in the first half, with Glen Hand's seventh minute cross just eluding Mark Craig in the centre, while Mark Roy at the back post was unable to put sufficient purchase on his effort to trouble keeper Paul Murphy.

Ballymena had the ball in the net on 15 minutes when Gary Haveron's cross from the left was headed goalwards by Albert Watson and Randal Reid applied the finishing touch with a header from close-range but assistant referee David Redfern adjudged that he striker had moved into an offside position.

Then from a Mark Picking corner on 20 minutes, Kevin Kelbie's point-blank header was brilliantly diverted onto the roof of the net by Welders keeper James Thompson.

United enjoyed another let-off on 27 minutes when Aaron Callaghan was dispossessed by hand who slipped a pass into the path of the clear-breaking Mark Roy but the winger's effort was blocked by Murphy.

Gradually, Ballymena began to assume control and their domination finally paid off on 57 minutes. Stuart King's shot was blocked by a defender and as the ball broke outside the edge of the penalty area, it was met by the in-rushing Scates, whose 22-yard drive went on off the inside of the post.

As the Welders began to tire, United might have extended their advantage with both Kevin Kelbie and substitute Austin Friel going close but in the end, that single goal was enough to ensure the Sky Blues' passage to round six.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

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