Linfield 4
Ballymena United 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


4 - 1

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, September 14th, 2013
Windsor Park
Attendance: 1,545
3:00 PM Kick-off

Andrew Waterworth (10)
Andrew Waterworth (19)
Andrew Waterworth (pen.) (60)
Rodney Brown (90)
Gary Liggett (51)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey Glenn Ferguson

Starting Eleven
Jonathan Tuffey
Sean Ward
BJ Burns
Kyle McVey
Niall Quinn
Michael Gault
Jamie Mulgrew
Aaron Burns
Michael Carvill
Mark McAllister
Andrew Waterworth
Dwayne Nelson
Michael Ruddy
Tony Kane .2
Mark McCullagh
Jonathan Taylor
Alan Teggart
Alan Davidson .4
Gary Thompson
Allan Jenkins .10
Gavin Taggart
Michael McLellan

Rodney Brown
Peter Thompson
Brian McCaul
James Knowles
Reece Glendinning
David Munster
David Cushley .11
Shane Dolan
Gary Liggett
Neil Lowry

Rodney Brown for Aaron Burns (75)
Peter Thompson for Mark McAllister (76)
Brian McCaul for Andrew Waterworth (80)
Neil Lowry for Gavin Taggart (37)
Gary Liggett for Alan Davidson (46)
David Cushley for Michael McLellan (66)

Aaron Burns (73) Gavin Taggart (31)
Gary Thompson (59)
Jonathan Taylor (63)
Michael Ruddy (76)

Red Cards
None. Allan Jenkins (60)

Match Officials

Hugh Carvill (Referee)

Match Report

AN ANDREW Waterworth inspired hat-trick sunk Ballymena United on Saturday as Linfield ran out 4-1 winners on a controversial afternoon at Windsor Park.

It was however United who threatened first, a volley from midfielder Gary Thompson which flashed wide of the post. This served as a wake up call for the home side who took the lead with just ten minutes on the clock. An excellent passing move by Linfield enabled Jamie Mulgrew to pick out Andrew Waterworth with a pin-point cross and the ex-Glentoran striker made no mistake to head home from all of two yards.

Only nine minutes later Waterworth doubled his side's advantage with another poachers' effort at the back post. United appealed for offside from Michael Carvill's cross but the linesman waved away their collective protestations. Linfield could have extended their advantage even further with Waterworth again going close in addition to blocked efforts from Mark McAllister and Michael Gault.

Gavin Taggart was fortunate not to receive his marching orders shortly before the interval for what appeared to be a second bookable offence. Manager Glenn Ferguson was not prepared to run the risk of Taggart committing a further misdemeanour so promptly withdrew him in favour of Neil Lowry. Lowry's introduction proved to be the catalyst that sparked a mini United revival. A late surging run down the right hand side gave a sign of things to come in the second half.

Just over five minutes had elapsed of the second period when another surging run down the right hand side from Neil Lowry caused havoc in the Linfield defence, this time paying dividends. Lowry's cross was met by the had of Michael McClellan who flicked the ball on in the direction of substitute Gary Liggett to stroke home and reduce the deficit to just one goal.

Just as United thought they were back in the game, a double whammy on the hour mark proved to the contrary. Sean Wards's free kick was flicked on towards Andrew Waterworth by the head of Linfield captain Gault, Dwayne Nelson came charging out and appeared to bring Waterworth to the ground as referee Hugh Carvill wasted no time in pointing to the spot. Waterworth duly dispatched the penalty himself, completing his hat-trick in the process. United skipper Allan Jenkins was then incredibly sent off for comments made to the referee in the aftermath of the penalty award meaning the Sky Blues restarted play a man down and a further goal behind.

Playing with ten men and a two goal deficit, any realistic hopes of a United fightback were surely gone but to their credit, the Sky Blues did force a number of excellent opportunities. A seemingly blatant penalty for hand ball was turned down after Gary Liggett's shot appeared to strike the arm of a Linfield defender, before Tony Kane missed a header form point blank range. David Cushley then somehow dragged his shot from inside the box wide when in acres of space to pull the trigger, to compile a frustrating afternoon in front of goal for the Sky Blues. United were made to pay for their profligacy when Linfield substitute Rodney Brown put the result beyond doubt with a scrappy finish in injury time.

Ballymena may have a right to feel aggrieved at the standard of officiating on show but ultimately the performance was not of a high enough standard to warrant a positive result. Much improvement will be needed if Untied are to continue their excellent recent record at the Oval next Saturday against Glentoran (3pm).

Match report written by Jordan Miller

Squad Statistics (as at September 14th, 2013)

2013-2014 All Time
Dwayne Nelson (GK)29 7 - 165 -
Jonathan Taylor25 71384
Tony Kane26 81766
Michael Ruddy20 6 - 27 -
Mark McCullagh26 7 - 14 -
Gary Thompson23 81486
Gavin Taggart28 2 - 1215
Allan Jenkins31 717912
Alan Teggart26 718516
Alan Davidson25 7 - 458
Michael McLellan20 3131
Gary Liggett (sub)25 72247
David Cushley (sub)24 2 - 12323
Neil Lowry (sub)20 61393

League Table (as at September 14th, 2013)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Cliftonville 7 5 0 2 7 15
2. Portadown 7 4 2 1 14 14
3. Glenavon 7 4 2 1 9 14
4. Linfield 7 3 2 2 3 11
5. Crusaders 7 2 3 2 3 9
6. Glentoran 7 2 3 2 0 9
7. Dungannon 7 3 2 2 1 11
8. Ballinamallard Utd 7 3 1 3 -9 10
9. BALLYMENA UTD 7 3 0 4 -6 9
10. Coleraine 7 1 4 2 0 7
11. Warrenpoint Town 7 1 1 5 -9 4
12. Ards 7 1 0 6 -13 3

* - Table split into two divisions of six.