Cliftonville 1
Ballymena United 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


Cliftonville 

1 - 1

Ballymena United


League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
Solitude
Attendance: 1,035
3:00 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Joe Gormley (68) Leroy Millar (30)

Team Managers
Paddy McLaughlin David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
1. Richard Brush
2. Conor McDermott
4. Garry Breen
7. Christopher Curran
12. Seanan Foster
15. Michael McCrudden
17. Ronan Doherty
19. Joe Gormley
24. Conor McMenamin
25. Aaron Donnelly
30. Calvin McCurry
Ross Glendinning .1
Tony Kane .2
Scot Whiteside .5
Jonathan Addis .4
Reece Glendinning .24
Steven McCullough .11
Ryan Harpur .8
Leroy Millar .23
Jude Winchester .20
Adam Lecky .22
Joe McCready .15

Bench
20. Declan Dunne
9. Ryan Curran
14. Ronan Wilson
28. Odran Casey
29. Donal Rocks
31. Peter McKiernan
34. Brodie Spencer
Jordan Williamson .31
Kofi Balmer .19
Kyle Owens .35
Andrew Burns .14
James Knowles .10
Cathair Friel .9
Kenny Kane .12

Substitutions
Ryan Curran for Calvin McCurry (55)
Donal Rocks for Seanan Foster (61)
Peter McKiernan for Michael McCrudden (85)
James Knowles for Ryan Harpur (62)

Cautions
None. Scot Whiteside (1)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Lee Tavinder (Referee)
Paul Robinson & Richard Storey (Assistants)
Tony Clarke (Fourth Official)



Match Report


Ballymena United picked up their first league point of 2020 with a well deserved 1-1 draw with Cliftonville at Solitude.

Ryan Harpur returned to United's starting XI after a lengthy injury lay off, with Leroy Millar also overcoming injury to start, as the sides met for the first time since that heart-breaking Toals Co. Antrim Shield final last month.

The game was played in seemingly endless strong winds, making chances in the first half at a premium despite some decent play from both teams. Scot Whiteside was unfortunate to somehow see yellow inside a minute, but from the resulting free kick Joe Gormley fired wide. The Sky Blues' first chance came on ten minutes and was a good one. Steven McCullough delivered a free kick towards the near post for Jonny Addis, with surely any touch at all sending the ball home, but it was narrowly missed by the centre half.

From there neither goalmouth saw much action up until the half hour mark, despite some good football from both teams, with Ballymena probably just shading it. Eventually a chance came and Ross Glendinning did well to save Conor McMenamin's shot from distance, before the Braidmen broke the deadlock on 30 minutes, just as the Reds were probing. The move was started and ended by Millar, who dispossessed Chris Curran in the middle. He played a good one-two with Adam Lecky who put Leroy Millar through and he did the rest, finishing neatly under Richard Brush in front of the away end.

Until half-time again there was little to report in terms of chances, but United did survive two injury scares. First Ross Glendinning called for attention on a hand injury but was fine to continue, before Lecky took a blow to the head which strangely didn't see play stopped straight away. He eventually was attended to but thankfully carried on as Ballymena took a deserved lead into the break.

The wind continued at pace as the second half got underway and it was Cliftonville who started well. Just three minutes into the half McMenamin looked set to bring the hosts level when a cross fell kindly for him, but Addis, fantastic all game, made a crucial block. At the other end some great switching play between wing back's McCullough and Reece Glendinning allowed McCullough time to fizz a ball across goal, but it was narrowly missed by Joe McCready and Brush gratefully gathered.

Cliftonville turned to Ryan Curran from the bench before the hour mark and almost straight away he had a great chance to level. A miskick by Reece Glendinning allowed Curran in, but Ross Glendinning bailed his brother out by making a good low save. Ballymena were dealt another injury blow when Harpur, making his first appearance since December, was forced off with what looked like a hamstring problem. Yet more injury misery for Harpur who made a real difference back in the side, and he was replaced by James Knowles.

Five minutes after the change Cliftonville levelled. Chris Curran's cross took a nick off McCullough and landed for Joe Gormley whose half volley on the turn came off the left post and crossed the line at the other post.

Ballymena would've expected to come under a lot of Cliftonville pressure in the final twenty minutes and did to a certain extent, but without large amounts of clear cut chances. The closest the Reds came was ten minutes from time when both sides had chances inside a minute. Chris Curran found namesake Ryan who in turn found McMenamin and his effort from the edge of the box was expertly tipped over by Glendinning. United broke from the resulting corner through McCready and he found McCullough who saw a well struck shot from distance palmed round the post by Brush.

Towards the end Cliftonville threw numerous balls into Ballymena's box but they were dealt with at ease as Ballymena picked up a good point they were more than worthy of, ahead of next week's huge Irish Cup tie at Ballinamallard.

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



Squad Statistics (as at February 22nd, 2020)


2019-2020 All Time
Age
Ross Glendinning (GK)26 27 - 137 -
Scot Whiteside22 181501
Jonathan Addis27 332755
Steven McCullough25 40 - 1235
Tony Kane32 22133847
Reece Glendinning24 9 - 202
Ryan Harpur31 202252
Jude Winchester26 233588
Leroy Millar24 33616424
Joe McCready29 3131
Adam Lecky28 2046321
James Knowles (sub)26 111406



League Table (as at February 22nd, 2020)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 30 21 3 6 66
2. Coleraine 29 17 8 4 59
3. Glentoran 30 17 7 6 58
4. Crusaders 29 16 7 6 55
5. Cliftonville 29 17 4 8 55
6. Larne 30 15 8 7 53
7. Glenavon 29 10 5 14 35
8. Carrick 30 10 2 18 32
9. BALLYMENA UTD 29 7 6 16 27
10. Dungannon 29 7 5 17 26
11. Warrenpoint Town 30 5 2 23 17
12. Institute 30 2 9 19 15