Linfield 1
Ballymena United 0
League (NIFL Premiership)


Linfield 

1 - 0

Ballymena United


League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, February 23rd, 2019
Windsor Park
Attendance: 2,747
3:00 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Joshua Robinson (55) None.

Team Managers
David Healy David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
35. Gareth Deane
4. Joshua Robinson
6. Jimmy Callacher
7. Andrew Waterworth
17. Daniel Kearns
18. Kyle McClean
22. Jamie Mulgrew
23. Ryan McGivern
29. Marek Cervenka
31. Niall Quinn
47. Chris Casement
Ross Glendinning .1
Tony Kane .2
Scot Whiteside .5
Jonathan Addis .4
Jim Ervin .21
Steven McCullough .11
Leroy Millar .23
Jude Winchester .20
Andrew McGrory .17
Adam Lecky .22
Cathair Friel .9

Bench
25. Conor Mitchell
2. Mark Stafford
8. Michael O'Connor
10. Jordan Stewart
12. Kirk Millar
15. Lorcan Forde
16. Matthew Clarke
Jordan Williamson .31
Conor Quigley .3
Albert Watson .32
Shane McGinty .7
William Faulkner .12
Jonathan McMurray .27
Matthew Shevlin .16

Substitutions
Michael O'Connor for Daniel Kearns (68)
Jordan Stewart for Marek Cervenka (68)
Jonathan McMurray for Jude Winchester (70)
William Faulkner for Andrew McGrory (76)
Shane McGinty for Steven McCullough (85)

Cautions
Jimmy Callacher (44)
Ryan McGivern (70)
Jordan Stewart (90)
Tony Kane (14)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Tim Marshall (Referee)
Paul Robinson & Andrew Nethery (Assistants)
Jamie Robinson (Fourth Official)



Match Report


Ballymena United suffered a second 1-0 defeat to Linfield in 7 days to lose ground at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

United headed to The National Stadium for the second Saturday running looking to avenge last week's League Cup final defeat, and made two changes with Tony Kane and Scot Whiteside replacing James Knowles and Kofi Balmer respectively.

Yet again there was little to split the sides in the early stages, with Andy Waterworth flashing a shot well wide at one end and Jude Winchester doing the same at the other, in the first chances for both teams.

On 8 minutes a route one ball from Ross Glendinning found Andy McGrory who lobbed Gareth Deane in the Linfield goal, but Blues' debutant Ryan McGivern was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Most of the battling on the pitch was being done in the middle of the park, but Jamie Mulgrew was able to take advantage of a rare bit of space to break and find Marek Cervenka. The Czech found Andy Waterworth inside the box but his shot was brilliantly blocked by the body of Jonny Addis.

There was little to report on goalmouth action in the middle part of the half, with a deflected long range effort from Mulgrew the only chance, but Glendinning had little issues in getting across to make the save. Inside the final 10 minutes the Sky Blue supporters momentarily thought they'd gone ahead when a looping header from Adam Lecky must've looked to have gone in, but instead it had gone inches over the crossbar.

Lecky then found himself fouled four times in as many minutes, with the fourth a poor, lunging tackle from Jimmy Callagher, which referee Tim Marshall deemed only a yellow card. The best chance of the half came United's way in added time when Whiteside met a free kick from Steven McCullough, but he headed narrowly over as a tight half ended goalless.

The second half got off to a fairly quiet start, but it was awoken on 53 minutes when Josh Robinson rattled the bar with a powerful strike from all of 25 yards, and a minute later Robinson put Linfield ahead. From a Kyle McClean corner Joshua Robinson rose highest to power home a header into the top corner and give the hosts the breakthrough.

The opener put Ballymena in an all too familiar position of having to chase an equaliser at Windsor Park, but unlike last week, crosses into the box were failing to create any real threat or danger. Cathair Friel was able to pick out McCullough in the middle of the box, but he was unable to get a connection on the ball to turn it goal wards. With Johnny McMurray, Willie Faulkner and Shane McGinty all brought on to try and force a crucial goal, Linfield stood strong to keep the Braidmen out.

Ballymena would've wanted one chance in the final 5 minutes, and it came when a corner from Leroy Millar found McGinty, but his header was tipped onto the bar and over by Deane, with a goal kick given.

After Glendinning did well to stop Jim Ervin turning a cross from sub Michael O'Connor into his own net, Ballymena had a massive penalty appeal waved away with 1 minute left. A shot from Lecky clearly struck the arm of Callacher inside the box, but Tim Marshall said no penalty, leaving David Jeffrey and his players incensed, as Linfield held on.

The result sees United stay in second place, but now trailing today's opponents by 9 points at the top.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (www.ballymenaunitedfc.com)



Squad Statistics (as at February 23rd, 2019)


2018-2019 All Time
Age
Ross Glendinning (GK)25 28 - 100 -
Scot Whiteside21 25 - 25 -
Steven McCullough24 334735
Jonathan Addis26 343343
Tony Kane31 30530846
Jim Ervin33 3012073
Leroy Millar23 30712215
Jude Winchester25 305305
Andrew McGrory27 256256
Adam Lecky27 33133313
Cathair Friel25 321712257
Shane McGinty (sub)24 152152
William Faulkner (sub)29 16212213
Jonathan McMurray (sub)24 2439030



League Table (as at February 23rd, 2019)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 29 21 5 3 68
2. BALLYMENA UTD 28 18 5 5 59
3. Crusaders 30 18 3 9 57
4. Glenavon 29 14 9 6 51
5. Coleraine 30 13 9 8 48
6. Cliftonville 28 14 3 11 45
7. Institute 29 10 5 14 35
8. Dungannon 30 8 9 13 33
9. Glentoran 29 8 7 14 31
10. Warrenpoint Town 29 7 7 15 28
11. Ards 30 4 5 21 17
12. Newry 29 4 5 20 17