Ballymena United 2
Glenavon 1
League (Irish League)


Ballymena United
2 - 1
Glenavon 

League (Irish League)
Friday, December 20th, 2019
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,003
7:45 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Cathair Friel (47)
Cathair Friel (90)
Jordan Jenkins (50)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Gary Hamilton

Starting Eleven
31. Jordan Williamson
21. Jim Ervin
11. Steven McCullough
19. Kofi Balmer
2. Tony Kane
14. Andrew Burns
10. James Knowles
8. Ryan Harpur
17. Andrew McGrory
22. Adam Lecky
9. Cathair Friel
Jonathan Tuffey .1
Daniel Larmour .2
Caolan Marron .4
Andrew Doyle .6
Joshua Daniels .7
Rhys Marshall .8
Andrew Hall .11
Samuel Clingan .16
Conor McCloskey .20
James Singleton .27
Jordan Jenkins .30

Bench
1. Ross Glendinning
5. Scot Whiteside
24. Reece Glendinning
26. Joshua Kelly
28. Ross Lavery
7. Shane McGinty
12. Kenny Kane
Patrick Burns .3
Andrew Mitchell .9
Aaron Harmon .15
Kyle Beggs .23
Stephen Murray .24
Robert Garrett .28
Eoin Wearen .45

Substitutions
Joshua Kelly for Ryan Harpur (59)
Shane McGinty for James Knowles (75)
Kyle Beggs for Andrew Hall (39)
Andrew Mitchell for Jordan Jenkins (82)
Stephen Murray for Conor McCloskey (82)

Cautions
James Knowles (45)
None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Andrew Davey (Referee)
Gareth Eakin & Adam Jeffrey (Assistants)
Diarmuid Harrigan (Fourth Official)




Match Report


Cathair Friel's injury time winner made it three wins in a row for Ballymena United with a 2-1 victory over Glenavon at The Showgrounds on Friday night.

It wasn't exactly an action packed start to the game with both teams starting cautiously. Kofi Balmer did well to stop Conor McCloskey getting a shot away in the early stages, before Andrew Doyle advanced from the back and called Jordan Williamson into action from distance. Ballymena's first real opening was a good one when Andrew Burns put Cathair Friel though. Friel, in a great position, opted to square it to Adam Lecky instead of shooting, but his pass was poor and the chance was gone. Seconds later Lecky almost capitalised on some hesitancy by Jonny Tuffey on the edge of his box, with the goalkeeper just about salvaging the situation at the second attempt.

Former Sky Blue McCloskey could've netted against his old side when a great ball by Josh Daniels allowed McCloskey in, but Williamson was off his line well to deny him. As the half progressed both sides looked long to try and get in behind defences, however it was to little avail, but both managed some decent play on the ground. Another long through ball from Burns came off when it went all the way through to James Knowles who took it to the by-line and found Lecky, but he was too close to Tuffey who smothered the chance.

The trading of chances continued towards the end of the half with first Williamson doing well to be alert and claw Andy Hall's corner off the line, before at the other end Ryan Harpur did exceptionally well on the right to get a cross in for Friel, whose looping header was cleared off the line by Doyle. With virtually the last kick off the half Ballymena had a bit of a scare as Sammy Clingan lined up a free kick from 20 yards out, but it nicked the wall on the way over as the half ended with a fair scoreline.

The Braidmen made the ideal start to the second half as they took the lead just two minutes in. Knowles played in Lecky over the top, and after Lecky managed to stay onside he squared it again for Friel, but this time it was successful as Cathair Friel finished into the roof of the net.

United were ahead for all of three minutes when The Lurgan Blues levelled through Jordan Jenkins. The goal came as the result of some good luck for Glenavon as Clingan's poorly hit shot from outside the box landed at the feet of Jordan Jenkins, who then slotted past Williamson.

Until added time it looked like the early goal scoring at the start of the half would be as good as it got as the half failed to produce many fireworks. Friel had a half chance to regain the lead for the hosts when he was well found by Tony Kane, but under pressure from Doyle and Daniel Larmour, Friel could only scoop the ball into Tuffey's arms. Williamson made another solid stop to keep Jenkins out before Ballymena were forced into a change when an injured Harpur was replaced by Josh Kelly. Arguably Williamson's best save of the night came when Daniels met a cross first time, but United's shot stopper got down well to make the save to his left.

The Sky Blues passed up a golden opportunity twenty minutes from time. Kelly found Steven McCullough who advanced into the box and crossed for Friel, but he made a mess of the finish from 6 yards out and blasted over. A lacklustre and rather dull final fifteen minutes to the game saw both sides probably accepting that a draw was the likely outcome, a result no one could argue with, but just like in this fixture last season Ballymena won it in time added on.

Substitute Shane McGinty found Lecky on the byline, and after Lecky sat down Doyle he had time to pick out Cathair Friel at the back post and his first time finish found the back of the net. United saw out the remaining seconds with ease to make it three wins on the spin to continue their climb out of that horrible run of form and make it a happier Christmas for Sky Blues ahead of Boxing Day.

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



Squad Statistics (as at December 20th, 2019)


2019-2020 All Time
Age
Jordan Williamson (GK)24 10 - 11 -
Andrew Burns27 18 - 532
Steven McCullough25 30 - 1135
Tony Kane32 13132947
Jim Ervin34 29 - 2463
Kofi Balmer19 20 - 834
Ryan Harpur31 192242
Andrew McGrory28 2686218
James Knowles26 51346
Cathair Friel26 22914667
Adam Lecky28 1345621
Joshua Kelly (sub)20 171171
Shane McGinty (sub)25 223436



League Table (as at December 20th, 2019)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 18 14 0 4 42
2. Coleraine 20 11 7 2 40
3. Crusaders 20 11 6 3 39
4. Cliftonville 19 12 2 5 38
5. Glentoran 19 10 5 4 35
6. Larne 19 7 7 5 28
7. BALLYMENA UTD 21 7 5 9 26
8. Glenavon 20 7 2 11 23
9. Carrick Rangers 19 7 0 12 21
10. Dungannon Swifts 19 5 2 12 17
11. Institute 20 2 6 12 12
12. Warrenpoint Town 20 3 0 17 9