Ballymena United 0
Cliftonville 1
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
0 - 1

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, September 7th, 2013
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 952
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Joe Gormley (3)

Team Managers
Glenn Ferguson
Tommy Breslin

Starting Eleven
Dwayne Nelson
2. Tony Kane
6. Aaron Stewart
Mark McCullagh
Jonathan Taylor
Michael Ruddy
Alan Teggart
Neal Gawley
Gary Thompson
10. Allan Jenkins
Michael McLellan
Conor Devlin
Marc Smyth
Jaimie McGovern
Eamonn Seydak
Ryan Catney
Martin Donnelly
Ciaran Caldwell
Christopher Curran
Joseph McNeill
Liam Boyce
Joe Gormley

David Munster
Gavin Taggart
4. Alan Davidson
Peter Duffin
Gary Liggett
Diarmuid O'Carroll
Stephen Garrett
Ciaran Doherty
Ronan Scannell
Martin Murray

Gary Liggett for Neal Gawley (46)
Alan Davidson for Michael McLellan (65)
Peter Duffin for Michael Ruddy (85)
Diarmuid O'Carroll for Liam Boyce (57)
Stephen Garrett for Christopher Curran (81)
Ciaran Doherty for Joe Gormley (83)

Jonathan Taylor (31)
Aaron Stewart (63)
Allan Jenkins (89)

Red Cards
Aaron Stewart (77)
Match Officials

Raymond Crangle (Referee)

Match Report

AN EARLY goal from Cliftonville striker Joe Gormley condemned Ballymena United to defeat, with the Sky Blues missing several gilt edged chances to take something from the game.

United should have taken the lead in the first minute, only for captain Allan Jenkins to drag his shot wide from inside the six yard box. The Sky Blues were made to pay for their benevolence minutes later when in-form Joe Gormley gave the visitors the lead. A long kick from Cliftonville goalkeeper Conor Devlin wasn't deal with by United defenders Johnny Taylor and Mark McCullagh allowing Joe Gormley to nip in and lob the ball over the stranded Dwayne Nelson.

Recent signing Michael McClellan almost drew United level moments after but his rasping 25 yard effort flew just wide of Conor Devlin's right hand post. The visitors stepped it up a gear and should have doubled their advantage when goalscorer Joe Gormley found space in the box but his bullet header flew harmlessly over the bar. Chris Curran then powered a shot from the edge of the box but the ball sailed just wide of Dwayne Nelson's goal.

Manager Glenn Ferguson made a change at half time, bringing on Gary Liggett in place of Neal Gawley in a vain attempt to register on the score sheet. However, it was in fact Cliftonville who threatened next through the lively Joe Gormley who really should have put the result beyond doubt when in acres of space at the back post, somehow tapping across goal to the disbelief of the away support. United should have made Cliftonville pay for their profligacy but in turn made a dreadful miss of their own, when Gary Liggett missed a free header from inside the six yard box after a delightful cross from Gary Thompson. Things went from bad to worse for the home side when Alan Teggert somehow dragged his shot wide when given the freedom of the Cliftonville 18 yard box.

Aaron Stewart then saw red for a second bookable offence, a decision which failed to garner support from the United bench and crowd, incensed at referee's Raymond Crangle apparent benevolent attitude to yellow carding visiting players for similar offences, in particular the tenacious Ryan Catney who had clocked up a number of fouls without reprimand.

Despite having to see out the rest of the game with ten men, United coped manfully and forced a procession of corners and crosses towards the closing stages but failed to really test Conor Devlin in the Cliftonville goal. In the end, Ballymena went home frustrated at being unable to take anything from the game yet content with how they matched the current league champions for long periods. The Sky Blues will surely have to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to earn a positive result at Windsor Park next Saturday (3pm), when they travel to south Belfast to take on Linfield.

Match report written by Jordan Miller

Squad Statistics (as at September 7th, 2013)

2013-2014 All Time
Dwayne Nelson (GK)29 6 - 164 -
Jonathan Taylor25 61374
Tony Kane26 71756
Michael Ruddy20 5 - 26 -
Mark McCullagh26 6 - 13 -
Aaron Stewart23 511746
Alan Teggart26 618416
Neal Gawley27 5 - 5 -
Gary Thompson23 71476
Allan Jenkins31 617812
Michael McLellan20 2121
Alan Davidson (sub)25 6 - 448
Peter Duffin (sub)19 2 - 11 -
Gary Liggett (sub)25 61236

League Table (as at September 7th, 2013)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Cliftonville 6 4 0 2 4 12
2. Portadown 6 3 2 1 13 11
3. Glenavon 6 3 2 1 6 11
4. Glentoran 6 2 3 1 3 9
5. Crusaders 6 2 2 2 3 8
6. Linfield 6 2 2 2 0 8
7. Dungannon 6 3 2 1 2 11
8. BALLYMENA UTD 6 3 0 3 -3 9
9. Coleraine 6 1 4 1 1 7
10. Ballinamallard Utd 6 2 1 3 -10 7
11. Warrenpoint Town 6 1 0 5 -9 3
12. Ards 6 1 0 5 -10 3

* - Table split into two divisions of six.