Warrenpoint Town 2
Ballymena United 2
League (NIFL Premiership)

Warrenpoint Town 

2 - 2

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, March 20th, 2021
5:30 PM Kick-off

Adam Carroll (32)
Brandon Doyle (84)
Shay McCartan (56)
Ryan Waide (87)

Team Managers
Barry Gray David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
1. Gabriel Sava
3. Steven Ball
7. Kealan Dillon
8. Jake O'Connor
9. Alan O'Sullivan
10. Francis McCaffrey
11. Luke Gallagher
12. Adam Carroll
14. Ben Mullen
23. Daniel Wallace
26. Adam Evans
Jordan Williamson .18
Trai Hume .20
Ross Redman .3
Conor Keeley .22
Joshua Kelly .26
Jude Winchester .7
Sean Graham .27
Ben Wylie .28
Shay McCartan .15
Paul McElroy .14
Ryan Waide .16

21. Andrew Coleman
5. Dermot McVeigh
15. Ryan Swan
18. Kris Cowan
22. Stuart Hutchinson
27. Brandon Doyle
31. David Forsythe
Ross Glendinning .1
Tony Kane .2
Jim Ervin .21
Spencer Beattie .29
Owen McKeown .6
Ryan Harpur .8
Joe McCready .32

Brandon Doyle for Jake O'Connor (59)
Dermot McVeigh for Adam Evans (71)
David Forsythe for Alan O'Sullivan (84)
Jim Ervin for Sean Graham (27)
Joe McCready for Ben Wylie (88)

Francis McCaffrey (67)
Kealan Dillon (89)
Jude Winchester (72)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Tim Marshall (Referee)
Paul Robinson & Adam Jeffrey (Assistants)
Louise Thompson (Fourth Official)

Match Report

It was a case of deja vu at Milltown as Ballymena United and Warrenpoint played out their second stalemate in five days with a 2-2 draw on Saturday evening.

Ahead of the rematch of Tuesday night's battle at Milltown, David Jeffrey made two changes as Shay McCartan and Paul McElroy returned to the starting XI in place of Joe McCready and Tony Kane.

Tuesday night's encounter was entertaining and started quickly, but this one took a while to warm up, with a tentative start live on the BBC. It was the hosts who started the better, without creating that much, with a Jake O'Connor volley deflecting wide off Ben Wylie the pick of the opening fifteen minutes.

After Alan O'Sullivan, always a handful up front for Warrenpoint, had dragged a shot inches wide, Ballymena had their first meaningful chance, which took twenty-three minutes. A dangerous Ross Redman corner dropped on the six yard line where Conor Keeley was able to meet it, but with the ball close to the ground and the centre half under pressure, he turned the ball over.

On twenty-seven minutes United suffered an injury blow when Sean Graham was forced off, and he was replaced by skipper Jim Ervin. With Ballymena just starting to come into the game after a slow start, they were given the chance to lead from the penalty spot when Jude Winchester cut back inside the box and was clipped by Ben Mullen's dangling leg. McElroy expectedly took the spot kick, but having been five from five this season, his successful penalty run ended as his effort was easily saved by Gabriel Sava who went the right way.

If the missed penalty was difficult for The Braidmen to take, the pill was harder to swallow just forty-one seconds later when Warrenpoint opened the scoring. A long throw into the box wasn't dealt with by United who failed to clear their lines on a few occasions, and the pinball was ended by Adam Carroll who pivoted well to strike the ball on the turn and put it out of reach of the outstretched Jordan Williamson.

With Ballymena reeling from a crazy minute Warrenpoint looked to go further clear and Carroll forced Williamson into a save after being neatly slipped through, before Williamson pulled off a double save to deny Adam Evans with his legs, and then O'Sullivan on the follow up. The Sky Blues had been disappointing throughout the half but could've sneaked into the break level when Ben Wylie very tidily put in McElroy who was kept out by Sava from a tight angle, with Ryan Waide's rebound deflected just over. The corner came to nothing and Ballymena would've had no complaints going into half-time behind.

Looking to vastly improve in the second half, Ballymena did just that as they took the game to the hosts at the start of the second period. The opening ten minutes saw plenty of Sky Blue pressure without any real chances, but on fifty-six minutes the away side were level as Shay McCartan netted his fifth goal in seven games.

McElroy's fired ball across goal from the left missed everyone until it hit Ryan Waide at the backpost and went goalwards, where McCartan was well positioned to send the ball home from a yard out. It was United's 400th goal under David Jeffrey, in just over five years in charge for the boss.

Ballymena kept up the pressure after the goal, although probably without as much vigour, and a whipped free kick from Redman forced Sava to make his only real save for a while as he clawed it away from the top corner. As the game entered another quiet spell similar to that at the start of the ninety minutes, Keeley heading over from a corner and then doing well down the other end to block an O'Sullivan shot were the only points of note until a frantic final five minutes.

On eighty-five minutes Warrenpoint looked like they might have snatched the three points when sub Brandon Doyle made it 2-1. A long, aerial ball forward from Dermot McVeigh was misjudged by Redman and Doyle beat him in the air to race through, and after easily holding off Keeley he finished past Williamson.

However, Ballymena were back level within two minutes. Redman found McElroy in the box who did well to keep the ball and he put it across goal for Waide who did the rest. After setting himself up well Waide smashed home a wonderful finish on the turn to finally notch up his first Ballymena goal.

Both sides showed a bit of interest in finding a definite winner in added time, including the away team bringing on Joe McCready, but neither could find a fifth goal in the game as Ballymena had to settle for another point in Warrenpoint this week.

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

Squad Statistics (as at March 20th, 2021)

2020-2021 All Time
Jordan Williamson (GK)25 17 - 33 -
Conor Keeley23 12 - 12 -
Ross Redman31 252252
Trai Hume19 231231
Jude Winchester27 2028310
Joshua Kelly22 221543
Sean Graham20 8 - 8 -
Ben Wylie18 10 - 10 -
Paul McElroy26 258258
Ryan Waide21 221221
Shay McCartan26 239239
Jim Ervin (sub)35 8 - 2613
Joe McCready (sub)30 182233

League Table (as at March 20th, 2021)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 26 18 3 5 57
2. Coleraine 24 15 4 5 49
3. Larne 25 12 8 5 44
4. Glentoran 24 12 6 6 42
5. Cliftonville 26 11 7 8 40
6. Crusaders 25 12 3 10 39
7. BALLYMENA UTD 25 10 6 9 36
8. Glenavon 24 9 7 8 34
9. Warrenpoint Town 24 6 7 11 25
10. Portadown 23 4 6 13 18
11. Carrick 24 3 4 17 13
12. Dungannon 24 3 3 18 12