Linfield 2
Ballymena United 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


2 - 1

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
Windsor Park
Attendance: 2,292
3:00 PM Kick-off

Joel Cooper (35)
Joel Cooper (44)
Jimmy Callacher (o.g.) (90)

Team Managers
David Healy David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
1. Rohan Ferguson
2. Mark Stafford
6. Jimmy Callacher
9. Joel Cooper
12. Kirk Millar
14. Shayne Lavery
16. Matthew Clarke
20. Stephen Fallon
21. Bastien Hery
22. Jamie Mulgrew
23. Ryan McGivern
Ross Glendinning .1
Scot Whiteside .5
Jonathan Addis .4
Jim Ervin .21
Steven McCullough .11
Andrew McGrory .17
Ryan Harpur .8
Leroy Millar .23
Joshua Kelly .26
Jude Winchester .20
Kenny Kane .12

35. Gareth Deane
3. Ross Larkin
7. Andrew Waterworth
8. Matthew Shevlin
10. Jordan Stewart
48. Trai Hume
50. Charlie Allen
Jordan Williamson .31
Andrew Burns .14
Ross Lavery .28
Ryan Mayse .6
Shane McGinty .7
Declan Carville .16
Cathair Friel .9

Jordan Stewart for Joel Cooper (68)
Andrew Waterworth for Shayne Lavery (78)
Charlie Allen for Bastien Hery (87)
Andrew Burns for Scot Whiteside (46)
Cathair Friel for Kenny Kane (46)

Kirk Millar (78) None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Jamie Robinson (Referee)
Stephen Bell & Andrew Nethery (Assistants)
Ian McNabb (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United's poor run at The National Stadium continued after a narrow 2-1 defeat to champions Linfield in the capital this afternoon.

United fielded the same team who drew with Crusaders last weekend as they made the trip to Windsor Park for the first meeting of the season between last year's top two.

It was the champions who started the stronger in the opening 10 minutes, yet they were only able to carve out one solitary early chance, but it was a good one. On the left hand side of the box Joel Copper spun Andy McGrory and fired a ball across the six yard box for Shayne Lavery, but from close range he turned the ball wide. United's first real venture into Linfield's box yielded a chance on 15 minutes, the ball eventually falling for Kenny Kane whose cross was headed wide at the back post by McGrory.

The Blues had a growing corner count in the first half and from one of those corners Leroy Millar did well to flick the ball away from the waiting head of Jimmy Callacher. Despite Linfield still seeing more of the ball, Ballymena started to get more of it themselves as the half went on, and after Jude Winchester had advanced the ball down the pitch to Millar, at the second shooting attempt Millar's shot clipped the top of the crossbar.

Kane was gradually getting himself more involved in the game for United and did well to win a corner which fell to Steven McCullough on the edge but he fired well over, before Linfield took the lead two minutes later. Joel Cooper, who looked lively all half, was given time on the ball to cut inside from the right before ending a fine solo run by firing a shot past Ross Glendinning from the edge of the box.

After picking up a blow to the head early on, Millar was forced off for the third time by referee Jamie Robinson after Linfield's goal, with United a man down for over five minutes as Millar went down the tunnel for stitches.

A minute before the interval it was 2-0 as Joel Cooper bagged his second. Kirk Millar fired a ball into the box from the right touchline and it was held up by Cooper, and despite some claims for handball, he fired home into the same corner as his opener, to put the Blues in control at the break.

Needing a big effort in the second half to turn things around, the Braidmen made two changes at the break as Scot Whiteside and Kane were replaced by Andrew Burns and Cathair Friel.

A stop-start opening to the second half meant a less than attractive opening 20 minutes or so, with neither team really threatening a chance let alone a goal. On 73 minutes a chance finally presented itself and it fell the way of the Braidmen.

Friel was fouled wide left by Callacher and Winchester's free kick was parried by Rohan Ferguson to Burns at the back post, but he found the side netting.

Straight down the other end Linfield finally gave United's defence cause for concern too in the half when Matthew Clarke ran most of the half with the ball at his feet, before ending his mazy run by firing over from just inside the box. Any chance of a late comeback for the away side was almost ended 8 minutes from time when Millar's cross was cleared by McGrory, but only straight to Jordan Stewart inside the box, however his shot was well blocked by Jim Ervin who threw his body on the line.

Moving into the last five minutes and with neither team ever looking like scoring, a setting up of a grandstand finish by United looked highly unlikely, but with the board for added time about to go up Ballymena pulled one back. McGrory swung a good ball in from the right hand side and after Callacher and Ferguson got themselves in a tangle with Millar loitering, the ball hit the 'keeper and came back off Jimmy Callacher before going into the back of the net.

In the three minutes of time added on Linfield tested Glendinning on two occasions, whilst Ferguson dealt with a couple of crosses at the other end, but it was Linfield who saw out the 2-1 win.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at October 19th, 2019)

2019-2020 All Time
Ross Glendinning (GK)26 15 - 125 -
Scot Whiteside22 111431
Steven McCullough25 19 - 1025
Jonathan Addis27 142565
Jim Ervin34 17 - 2343
Leroy Millar24 20415122
Joshua Kelly20 10 - 10 -
Ryan Harpur30 141191
Jude Winchester26 143498
Andrew McGrory27 1455015
Kenny Kane20 6262
Andrew Burns (sub)27 11 - 462
Cathair Friel (sub)26 17614164

League Table (as at October 19th, 2019)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Coleraine 12 7 5 0 26
2. Crusaders 12 8 2 2 26
3. Cliftonville 12 8 1 3 25
4. Linfield 9 7 0 2 21
5. Glentoran 12 6 2 4 20
6. BALLYMENA UTD 11 4 4 3 16
7. Larne 11 4 3 4 15
8. Dungannon 12 4 2 6 14
9. Glenavon 10 3 1 6 10
10. Carrick 11 3 0 8 9
11. Institute 11 1 2 8 5
12. Warrenpoint Town 11 1 0 10 3