Crusaders 2
Ballymena United 0
League (NIFL Premiership)


Crusaders 

2 - 0

Ballymena United


League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, January 25th, 2020
Seaview
Attendance: 1,121
3:00 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Declan Caddell (71)
Ross Clarke (84)
None.

Team Managers
Stephen Baxter David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
30. Gerard Doherty
2. BJ Burns
7. Philip Lowry
9. Jamie McGonigle
12. Declan Caddell
14. Jordan Forsythe
15. Jarlath O'Rourke
18. Jordan Owens
20. Rodney Brown
21. Gary Thompson
22. Paul Heatley
Ross Glendinning .1
Reece Glendinning .24
Jonathan Addis .4
Tony Kane .2
Scot Whiteside .5
Andrew McGrory .17
Leroy Millar .23
Joshua Kelly .26
Aaron Burns .25
Cathair Friel .9
Adam Lecky .22

Bench
1. Sean O'Neill
4. Howard Beverland
11. David Cushley
17. Michael Ruddy
25. Ross Clarke
29. Paul McElroy
33. Cameron Dummigan
Jordan Williamson .31
Steven McCullough .11
Ross Lavery .28
Declan Carville .16
Jude Winchester .20
James Knowles .10
Kenny Kane .12

Substitutions
Ross Clarke for Paul Heatley (64)
David Cushley for Jamie McGonigle (89)
None.

Cautions
BJ Burns (44) Jonathan Addis (87)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Raymond Crangle (Referee)
Kristian Hanna & Mark O'Brien (Assistants)
Peter McGrath (Fourth Official)



Match Report


Two second half goals were enough to give Crusaders a 2-0 victory over Ballymena United at Seaview on Saturday afternoon.

In what was his 200th game in charge of the Sky Blues, David Jeffrey made numerous changes from Tuesday night's heart-breaking Toals Co. Antrim Shield final loss, including Ross Glendinning coming back in to take the gloves.

It was ropey start to proceedings on the Shore Road for the visitors as inside three minutes Jordan Forsythe landed a shot on the roof of the net before Philip Lowry missed a huge chance after he was played through 1 on 1 by Paul Heatley. After those early openings United settled into the game well and despite doing nothing to really challenge Gerard Doherty in the Crues' goal, the away side were seeing plenty of the ball.

Crusaders weren't doing much with the ball themselves, with a long range deflected shot from Jamie McGonigle, that was comfortably dealt with by Glendinning, their only real effort on goal in the last twenty minutes of the half. As is so often the case, Jordan Owens was the target man for The Crues but he was well marshalled by Scot Whiteside and Jonny Addis to limit Crusaders.

After Crusaders' flurry of chances in the opening three minutes, it was the Braidmen's turn to do the same at the very end of the half in what was an exciting ending to a rather pedestrian half. Ballymena's chance of the game fell to Josh Kelly when Declan Caddell failed to clear his lines, but from six yards out and unmarked Kelly somehow fired wide. Not long after Cathair Friel cut inside from the left and saw an effort deflect just wide of the top corner before the resulting corner was headed over by Whiteside, as an even half ended goalless.

Similarly to the first half, United were slow out of the gates in the second forty five and, after Leroy Millar missed the ball completely when trying to clear a set piece, Caddell's shot was well gathered by Glendinning.

Having more than matched their title chasing hosts in the first half, Ballymena were struggling to do the same second half, but around the hour mark they did have two decent attempts. The first came from Kelly who did well to create space for a shot, but slightly off balance on the edge of the box his shot went narrowly wide. In the next play Friel did great work down the left hand side and cut the ball back for Andy McGrory, whose effort looked certain to go in before Doherty made an outstanding save to put the ball onto the post.

Despite having more and more of the ball, Crusaders still weren't giving United's back line a whole lot of trouble until Glendinning was hesitant in coming for a ball that allowed Lowry to get a shot away, but Glendinning recovered to save well.

Crusaders then broke the deadlock with Tony Kane looked to have been fouled by Ross Clarke, but referee Raymond Crangle wasn't interested and Forsythe's cross was headed home by the unmarked Declan Caddell.

Ballymena were unable to really threaten an equaliser and on 84 minutes Crusaders made sure of the win to take them top of the league. The Crues won a free kick twenty five yards from goal and Ross Clarke sent it up and over the wall and into the net passed Glendinning who could only stand and watch.

A fifth straight league defeat for Ballymena brings an end to a miserable January, with attention now turning to next Saturday's Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup sixth round tie with Warrenpoint.

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



Squad Statistics (as at January 25th, 2020)


2019-2020 All Time
Age
Ross Glendinning (GK)26 23 - 133 -
Scot Whiteside22 141461
Tony Kane32 18133447
Reece Glendinning24 8 - 192
Jonathan Addis27 302725
Andrew McGrory28 3396919
Leroy Millar24 29516023
Joshua Kelly20 241241
Adam Lecky28 1746021
Aaron Burns27 9191
Cathair Friel26 281015268



League Table (as at January 25th, 2020)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Crusaders 27 16 7 4 55
2. Linfield 25 17 3 5 54
3. Glentoran 26 16 5 5 53
4. Coleraine 26 14 8 4 50
5. Cliftonville 25 16 2 7 50
6. Larne 26 11 8 7 41
7. Glenavon 26 9 4 13 31
8. Carrick 26 9 1 16 28
9. BALLYMENA UTD 26 7 5 14 26
10. Dungannon 25 6 4 15 22
11. Warrenpoint Town 27 5 1 21 16
12. Institute 27 2 8 17 14