Ballymena United 1
Linfield 2
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
1 - 2

League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, November 26th, 2019
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,172
7:45 PM Kick-off

Adam Lecky (39)
Kirk Millar (10)
Ryan McGivern (37)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
David Healy

Starting Eleven
1. Ross Glendinning
4. Jonathan Addis
19. Kofi Balmer
2. Tony Kane
21. Jim Ervin
11. Steven McCullough
7. Shane McGinty
17. Andrew McGrory
16. Declan Carville
12. Kenny Kane
22. Adam Lecky
Rohan Ferguson .1
Joshua Robinson .4
Jimmy Callacher .6
Andrew Waterworth .7
Joel Cooper .9
Kirk Millar .12
Shayne Lavery .14
Stephen Fallon .20
Jamie Mulgrew .22
Ryan McGivern .23
Andrew Mitchell .27

31. Jordan Williamson
29. Ethan Warnock
24. Reece Glendinning
10. James Knowles
28. Ross Lavery
6. Ryan Mayse
27. Leo Brown
Alex Moore .40
Matthew Shevlin .8
Jordan Stewart .10
Matthew Clarke .16
Bastien Hery .21
Daniel Reynolds .28
Christopher Casement .47

Ross Lavery for Declan Carville (77)
James Knowles for Tony Kane (82)
Matthew Clarke for Andrew Waterworth (65)
Bastien Hery for Stephen Fallon (71)

Shane McGinty (15)
Kofi Balmer (29)
Tony Kane (40)
Joel Cooper (43)
Bastien Hery (75)
Shayne Lavery (87)

Red Cards
None. Bastien Hery (90)
Match Officials

Ian McNabb (Referee)
Stephen Bell & Mark O'Brien (Assistants)
Peter McGrath (Fourth Official)

Match Report

A dominant second half performance wasn't enough to prevent Ballymena United from falling to a 2-1 defeat to champions Linfield at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening.

After a fairly lifeless opening ten minutes to the game, Linfield soon woke the match up by going ahead through Kirk Millar. Shayne Lavery embarked on long run through the United defence which ended with him putting the ball across goal for Millar, who couldn't miss from close range.

The Sky Blues reacted well and within a couple of minutes Tony Kane saw a free kick drift narrowly wide of the right hand post. There was little to report in the twenty or so minutes after the opener, with a couple of dangerous balls in from Joel Cooper coming to nothing and the same player striking well wide, while at the other end Tony Kane sent a tame effort straight at Rohan Ferguson. On the half hour mark Ballymena came close to levelling when Andy McGrory fizzed an inviting ball across Linfield's six yard box, with the ball somehow evading Kenny Kane and two defenders on the line before Linfield cleared. Less than a minute later Cooper broke on the counter and went from the edge of his own box to Ballymena's, but could only fire his effort over.

With eight minutes left in the half Ross Glendinning pulled off a good stop to keep Stephen Fallon out, but from the resulting corner the Blues doubled their lead. Millar's corner was met by Ryan McGivern who was able to get his head on the ball amongst a crowd of Sky Blue shirts and he saw his header find the back of the net, with a touch off Jim Ervin on its way.

It was now a monumental task facing Ballymena as they looked to end an eight game winless run in the league, but just two minutes after going two down, United pulled one back. From nothing, Jonny Addis put a ball in over the top from just inside his own half and it found Adam Lecky who had stayed onside, and with no one near him he finished past Ferguson to make it 1-2 at the break.

If Linfield had managed to edge the first half in terms of play, it was all United in the second half, with Linfield rarely carrying an attacking threat all half. Despite that, the first chance fell the visitor's way when Andrew Waterworth outmuscled Ervin on the by-line and put a ball back across goal for the arriving Millar, who could've done better as he placed his shot wide. A glorious opportunity passed Ballymena by on 55 minutes when Tony Kane produced a pin-point cross to the back post for Declan Carville, with surely any decent connection on the ball sending it home, but Carville failed to connect cleanly and the chance went.

Another good stop from Glendinning to deny Jamie Mulgrew from distance before the hour mark was one of those rare occasions Linfield got forward and shortly afterwards Jimmy Callacher blocked a Carville effort from six yards out, before Kenny Kane sent a header wide. United turned to Ross Lavery from the bench with fifteen minutes left as he replaced Carville, but three minutes afterwards Cooper could've sealed the game for the Blues when he was played in by Bastien Hery, but Cooper could only fire miles over from a good position.

In amongst United's pressure James Knowles came on for his first appearance in nine months as he replaced Tony Kane. Linfield managed to deal with more United crosses before the away side were reduced to 10 men at the start of three additional minutes when Hery received his second booking and was sent off for kicking out at Kofi Balmer.

In those three added on minutes a shot from Addis deflected to the feet of Shane McGinty, but he was denied from a tight angle by Ferguson. With everyone up for the corner, including Glendinning, Lavery almost equalised with the last kick of the game, but he could only find the arms of Ferguson, as Linfield held on to see out the win. Ultimately another defeat for Ballymena, but strong performances throughout the team against the champions showed signs of hope for the weeks ahead.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at November 26th, 2019)

2019-2020 All Time
Ross Glendinning (GK)26 21 - 131 -
Tony Kane32 9 - 32546
Jim Ervin34 25 - 2423
Jonathan Addis27 222645
Kofi Balmer19 16 - 794
Steven McCullough25 26 - 1095
Andrew McGrory27 2275817
Declan Carville29 211211
Shane McGinty25 203416
Adam Lecky28 945221
Kenny Kane20 132132
James Knowles (sub)26 1 - 305
Ross Lavery (sub)23 172172

League Table (as at November 26th, 2019)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Coleraine 17 11 5 1 38
2. Cliftonville 17 12 2 3 38
3. Crusaders 17 10 5 2 35
4. Linfield 15 11 0 4 33
5. Glentoran 16 9 3 4 30
6. Larne 16 6 6 4 24
7. BALLYMENA UTD 17 4 5 8 17
8. Glenavon 15 5 2 8 17
9. Carrick 16 5 0 11 15
10. Dungannon 16 4 2 10 14
11. Institute 17 1 6 10 9
12. Warrenpoint Town 17 2 0 15 6