Ballymena United 4
Glentoran 1
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
4 - 1

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, September 24th, 2016
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,469
3:00 PM Kick-off

Allan Jenkins (52)
William Faulkner (60)
Tony Kane (pen.) (83)
Tony Kane (pen.) (88)
Curtis Allen (16)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Roy Coyle

Starting Eleven
18. Alan Blayney
21. Jim Ervin
2. Tony Kane
34. Caolan Loughran
4. Kyle Owens
17. Daniel Wallace
12. William Faulkner
10. Allan Jenkins
7. Gary Thompson
14. Cathair Friel
27. Jonathan McMurray
Elliott Morris
Ross Redman
Eric Foley
Chris Lavery
Curtis Allen
Jonathan Smith
Tiarnan McAuley
James Ferrin
Steven Gordon
Jonathan Addis
Aaron Harmon

1. Ross Glendinning
5. Jonathan Flynn
11. Conor McCloskey
15. Eoin Kane
23. Leroy Millar
Dwayne Nelson
Marcus Kane
Ciaran Caldwell
Nacho Novo
Alexandru Leu

Conor McCloskey for Jonathan McMurray (78)
Marcus Kane for Ross Redman (68)
Ciaran Caldwell for Steven Gordon (68)
Nacho Novo for Chris Lavery (78)

Caolan Loughran (24)
Kyle Owens (37)
Jonathan McMurray (46)
James Ferrin (58)
Aaron Harmon (83)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Steven Taylor (Referee)

Match Report

BALLYMENA United came from a goal down to beat Glentoran today, thanks to a plethora of second-half goals.

Lifelong Ballymena United fan Claire Warnock led the Sky Blues onto the pitch alongside her favourite player, captain Jim Ervin, before the game. Little did she know it would be the Sky Blues' first win at home against the Glens since 2nd January 2007!

United started this game on the front foot, Johnny McMurray putting Willie Faulkner through but he drilled his shot narrowly wide. Minutes later Glentoran won a corner, Chris Lavery curling it in, someone getting their head on it towards Alan Blayney who held onto the ball in the soaking wet conditions. Ross Redman sent a through ball to Curtis Allen and he couldn't control it, allowing Blayney to collect. As Glentoran continued to press Lavery fouled a United player in the box, giving United a chance to clear from the free kick.

Jim Ervin made an excellent run towards the other end of the pitch and won a corner off Redman, which Cathair Friel got his head on but it was cleared for a throw in. Tony Kane whipped the throw in but it was cleared down the field. Both teams were playing at a frantic pace, trying their best to play in the pouring rain.

An Eric Foley free kick was played onto the back post, Blayney failed to gather but sent it out for a corner, which eventually resulted in a low Addis shot just wide of the post. It was Curtis Allen who broke the deadlock, firing a low effort past Blayney in the 16th minute.
It was end to end stuff with Glentoran looking the more dangerous on the attack, but United were starting to come into the game a bit more, without any real chances.

Just after the half hour mark Gary Thompson was fouled on the edge of the box but Tony Kane seen his free kick headed away to safety. As half time approached Johnny McMurray slid through on Glentoran keeper Elliot Morris who required treatment, but was able to continue. A great shot from McMurray took a deflection and went just over the bar for a corner. Tony Kane sent it in and it was cleared off the line and put behind for another corner which was too deep and came to nothing.

An early second half Tony Kane corner was headed in the wrong direction by Allan Jenkins and Glentoran were able to clear. He more than made up for it in the 51st minute though, firing home after a shot by Cathair Friel had rebounded off the post.
After Friel had been taken down in the 59th minute, Johnny McMurray fired the ball towards the wall and it took a touch and went behind for a corner. United kept the pressure on and 2 minutes later Friel crossed to Willie Faulkner who sent a downward header into the back of the net, grabbing his first goal of the season.

The game still was still end to end, with United looking to extend their lead and Glentoran trying to level the score, but no clear chances fell to either side. After Conor McCloskey came on to replace McMurray United had a fantastic chance, Faulkner volleying just over the bar with just over 10 minutes left to play.

After a series of Glentoran corners, one of which almost led to a goal, United were awarded a penalty at the other end after Gary Thompson was taken down by Aaron Harmon. Tony Kane stepped up to take the penalty and converted, making it 6 goals from his 6 penalties this season.

Tony Kane celebrates after scoring his first penalty
Click Above Image To View Full Size
As the game approached the final few minutes, the referee pointed to the spot for another United penalty after a Marcus Kane handball, Tony Kane stepping up to make it 7 from 7 and secure the victory.

After the game manager David Jeffrey said "Glentoran were the better side in the first half, they played the conditions better than us, they were quicker, they were sharper and they deservedly went in 1-0 to the good. I just said to the players we're not doing ourselves justice...I thought they responded absolutely magnificently, they were superb second half, and I'm tremendously proud of them. Alan Blayney made a tremendous save and that kept us in the game, and Allan Jenkins who by his own standards was nowhere near himself but what a second half performance, Anthony Kane with two penalties, Willie Faulkner tremendous goal, two babies at centre back Caolan Loughran and Kyle Owens, I'm so very proud of them."

Match report written by Paul Irwin

Squad Statistics (as at September 24th, 2016)

2016-2017 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)34 8 - 70 -
Jim Ervin31 11 - 892
Tony Kane29 10719919
Caolan Loughran21 81101
Kyle Owens24 113113
Daniel Wallace21 10 - 10 -
William Faulkner26 71407
Allan Jenkins34 10421547
Gary Thompson26 11 - 16118
Cathair Friel23 117117
Jonathan McMurray22 104104
Conor McCloskey (sub)24 9292

League Table (as at September 24th, 2016)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 9 7 2 0 19 23
2. Linfield 8 5 3 0 14 18
3. BALLYMENA UTD 9 5 2 2 3 17
4. Coleraine 9 4 3 2 6 15
5. Cliftonville 8 4 1 3 4 13
6. Glenavon 9 3 4 2 1 13
7. Ards 9 4 1 4 -2 13
8. Dungannon 9 3 3 3 4 12
9. Ballinamallard Utd 9 2 1 6 -9 7
10. Glentoran 9 2 1 6 -11 7
11. Carrick 9 1 1 7 -20 4
12. Portadown 9 2 0 7 -9 -6

* - Table split into two divisions of six.