3 - 0
3 - 0
League (NIFL Premiership)
Mark Surgenor (22)
Mark Surgenor (35)
Matthew Shevlin (87)
2. Tony Kane
10. Allan Jenkins
Gary Thompson for Neal Gawley (57)
Matthew Ferguson for Michael Ruddy (72)
Matthew Shevlin for Matthew Tipton (84)
John Currie for Ryan Campbell (59)
Gary Phair for Christopher Crilly (68)
Kane Connor for Raymond Foy (79)
Stephen McBride (43)
Jonathan Taylor (77)
Ryan Campbell (15)
Liam Martin (87)
Colin Burns (Referee)
BALLYMENA United finally recorded a Danske Bank Premiership victory at the eight attempt, defeating Ballinamallard by three goals to nil, courtesy of a brace from Mark Surgenor and a late strike from 15 year old substitute Matthew Shevlin.
United started brightly and should have taken the lead on eight minutes only for first goalkeeper Stefan McCusker and second the woodwork to deny Allan Jenkins with point blank headers. The Sky Blues captain was bossing the midfield and three minutes later was again unlucky not to score with a surging run through midfield which ended with a smart save by the busy Mallards goalkeeper.
The Mallards could have equalised on 18 minutes after the impressive Johnny Lafferty went on a mazy run but his square ball to Jason McCartney was deflected out for a corner. This served as a wake up call for Ballymena who duly took the lead three minutes later through Mark Surgenor. An exquisite pass from Tony Kane found the big midfielder who finished smartly beyond Stefan McCusker in the visitors goal for his first strike of the season.
Ballinamallard were a threat on the counter, with attacking duo Johnny Lafferty and Jason McCartney combining well again, with the former almost equalising but for a superb goal line clearance from Stephen McBride. Matthew Tipton then spurned a glorious chance to double the Sky Blues lead but failed to direct his header goalwards after a pinpoint cross from winger Neal Gawley.
United were not to wait too much longer to add to their advantage however, as good hold up play from Matthew Tipton allowed Darren Boyce to find Mark Surgenor, who unleashed an excellent finish from an acute angle into the net to record his second goal of the afternoon on 35 minutes. Tipton was again denied early in the second half with a fine stop from Stefan McCusker before Liam McMenamin volleyed inches wide for the visitors.
What followed left the entire crowd in disbelief with Ballinamallard somehow managing to outdo Ballymena in terms of comedy misses. Firstly, Darren Boyce blazed a header over the bar when it seemed easier to score after an excellent cross from Matthew Tipton before Mallards defender Mark Stafford somehow failed to take advantage of Dwayne Nelson dropping the ball at his feet in the six yard box by blasting wide of the empty net.
At this point the visitors began to sense that it just wasn't their day with Ballymena now in comfortable control. The introduction of FIFTEEN year old Matthew Shevlin in place of namesake Matthew Tipton from the substitutes bench late on proved an inspired decision by manager Glenn Ferguson, as the GCSE student scored with his first touch, stabbing home the rebound from Tony Kane's free kick amidst rapturous applause in the home stand. Shevlin becomes both Ballymena United's youngest ever appearance maker and goalscorer in what will surely be a day the young lad will never forget.
Match report written by Jordan Miller
|Dwayne Nelson (GK)||30||24||-||200||-|
|Gary Thompson (sub)||24||14||2||93||13|
|Matthew Ferguson (sub)||19||2||-||3||-|
|Matthew Shevlin (sub)||15||1||1||1||1|