Ballymena United 1
Crusaders 1
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
1 - 1

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, October 12th, 2019
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,423
3:00 PM Kick-off

Ryan Harpur (67)
Jamie McGonigle (pen.) (48)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Stephen Baxter

Starting Eleven
1. Ross Glendinning
5. Scot Whiteside
4. Jonathan Addis
21. Jim Ervin
11. Steven McCullough
8. Ryan Harpur
23. Leroy Millar
26. Joshua Kelly
20. Jude Winchester
17. Andrew McGrory
12. Kenny Kane
Gerard Doherty .30
BJ Burns .2
Howard Beverland .4
Colin Coates .6
Rory Hale .10
Declan Caddell .12
Jordan Forsythe .14
Jordan Owens .18
Gary Thompson .21
Paul Heatley .22
Ross Clarke .25

31. Jordan Williamson
14. Andrew Burns
6. Ryan Mayse
7. Shane McGinty
16. Declan Carville
28. Ross Lavery
9. Cathair Friel
Sean O'Neill .1
Sean Ward .8
Jamie McGonigle .9
David Cushley .11
Kyle Owens .16
Michael Ruddy .17
Paul McElroy .29

Cathair Friel for Kenny Kane (79)
Jamie McGonigle for Jordan Owens (25)
Michael Ruddy for BJ Burns (46)
Kyle Owens for Howard Beverland (72)

Andrew McGrory (80)
Ryan Harpur (82)
Jude Winchester (84)
Cathair Friel (87)
Colin Coates (90)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Andrew Davey (Referee)
Stephen Donaldson & Ken Ross (Assistants)
Shane Andrews (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with league leaders Crusaders at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

United made three changes from last week's league out at Institute, including Scot Whiteside replacing Kofi Balmer who's off on Northern Ireland U21 duty, whilst Cathair Friel made a welcome return to the bench.

The first half was a quiet affair compared to what would come in the second period, with Crusaders the better team but not causing Ross Glendinning too many problems. The first chance of the game, however, brought a fine stop out of Glendinning. Jordan Owens played in Paul Heatley who used his pace to fly past Whiteside, but he was denied by the legs of United's shot stopper. After Ross Clarke and Jude Winchester had traded shot's that flew well over the crossbar, that duo of Owens and Heatley linked up again, with Heatley this time finding the side netting.

On 25 minutes Crusaders were dealt a blow as Owens was forced off with an injury and replaced by Jamie McGonigle, but the Crues continued to push for an opener and Clarke rifled a fierce strike over the bar before Jim Ervin was in the right place at the right time to cut out a ball Heatley had fizzed across goal. Ballymena were struggling to create any sort of openings with options up front few and far between, and despite the visitors not being at their best either they continued to threaten.

Billy Joe Burns had a crack at goal from all of 35 yards that was well saved by Glendinning, with Jonny Addis dealing with the rebound, before the Crues had two penalty appeals turned down. The first came with claims the ball had struck the arm of Ryan Harpur in the box and seconds later Declan Caddell felt he'd been pushed by Addis, but neither shouts were heard by referee Andrew Davey as the half ended goalless.

The second half got off to the worst possible start for the Sky Blues when they conceded a penalty just 2 minutes in. Harpur was the unlucky culprit as the ball was flicked onto his arm and after slight hesitation a penalty was given. Jamie McGonigle stepped up and despite Glendinning going the right way he couldn't keep it out as Crusaders moved ahead.

Just like the Cliftonville game a fortnight ago, it took United falling behind to bring out the best in the team, as they began to put serious pressure on the Crues' goal. Josh Kelly set Leroy Millar through for a chance and his shot took the narrowest of deflections to go just wide. From the resulting corner Addis had a go from 18 yards but his shot was well stopped by Gerard Doherty.

On 58 minutes a minutes applause was held by both sets of supporters for former Ballymena and Crusaders players Jimmy Magee and Norman Pavis who both sadly passed away this week.

With 25 minutes left McGonigle almost caught everyone by surprise when he flicked on a header that looked to be going over, before it dropped onto the top of the bar, before 2 minutes later United were level. After a United throw in, Whiteside floated a long ball into the box and it was met by the head of Ryan Harpur who got the slightest of touches on the ball to divert it past Doherty.

With Ballymena grabbing that equaliser, both sides pushed for a winner late on, with Ballymena bringing on Friel for his first game in three weeks. Glendinning pulled off two fine saves to tip a couple of efforts from Heatley over the bar, and in between those chances Andy McGrory fired over. In the final 3 minutes of the game McCullough had a long range attempt kept out well by Doherty who got down low to save, but with the last kick of the ball the Braidmen missed a glorious chance to take a deserved three points. McCullough did well to keep the ball on the halfway line and he drove forward on the counter before teeing up Jude Winchester. Winchester had time to set him and pick his spot but he put his effort straight at Doherty who saved, resulting in the game finishing 1-1.

A good point against the team in top spot, but United will feel they did enough to win it in the second half.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at October 12th, 2019)

2019-2020 All Time
Ross Glendinning (GK)26 14 - 124 -
Steven McCullough25 17 - 1005
Jonathan Addis27 122545
Jim Ervin34 15 - 2323
Scot Whiteside22 91411
Ryan Harpur30 121171
Jude Winchester26 133488
Andrew McGrory27 1354915
Leroy Millar24 18414922
Joshua Kelly20 8 - 8 -
Kenny Kane20 5252
Cathair Friel (sub)26 15613964

League Table (as at October 12th, 2019)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Crusaders 11 8 2 1 26
2. Coleraine 11 6 5 0 23
3. Cliftonville 11 7 1 3 22
4. Linfield 8 6 0 2 18
5. Glentoran 11 5 2 4 17
6. BALLYMENA UTD 10 4 4 2 16
7. Larne 10 4 3 3 15
8. Dungannon 11 4 2 5 14
9. Glenavon 9 2 1 6 7
10. Carrick 10 2 0 8 6
11. Institute 10 1 2 7 5
12. Warrenpoint Town 10 1 0 9 3