Ballymena United 1
Cliftonville 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


Ballymena United
1 - 1
Cliftonville 

League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
Ballymena Showgrounds
7:45 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Shay McCartan (85)
Ryan Curran (76) (pen.)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Paddy McLaughlin

Starting Eleven
1. Ross Glendinning
20. Trai Hume
22. Conor Keeley
28. Ben Wylie
27. Sean Graham
17. Andrew McGrory
26. Joshua Kelly
7. Jude Winchester
32. Joe McCready
14. Paul McElroy
15. Shay McCartan
Aaron McCarey .37
Garry Breen .4
Ryan O'Reilly .5
Christopher Curran .7
Ryan Curran .9
Aaron Donnelly .14
Liam Bagnall .16
Kris Lowe .30
Daniel Kearns .32
Paul O'Neill .33
Barry Coffey .40

Bench
18. Jordan Williamson
21. Jim Ervin
2. Tony Kane
3. Ross Redman
10. James Knowles
29. Spencer Beattie
16. Ryan Waide
Declan Dunne .20
Jamie Harney .6
Daire O'Connor .8
Michael McCrudden .10
Ronan Doherty .17
Odhran Casey .22
Rory Hale .27

Substitutions
Ross Redman for Sean Graham (76)
Ryan Waide for Joe McCready (76)
Rory Hale for Barry Coffey (63)
Daire O'Connor for Daniel Kearns (70)

Cautions
Paul McElroy (32)
Shay McCartan (51)
Ross Glendinning (75)
Liam Bagnall (81)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Andrew Davey (Referee)
George Argyropoulos & Paul Robinson (Assistants)
Mark Dillon (Fourth Official)




Match Report


Ballymena United and Cliftonville's second meeting in a week ended level as the sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening.

One change for United from the weekend saw Joe McCready come into the starting XI in place of Ryan Waide, while Jordan Williamson was back in the squad after suspension. Ross Glendinning kept the number 1 shirt, bringing up 150 Sky Blue appearances, while Josh Kelly registered 50 not out.

Much like the reverse fixture at Solitude a week ago, there was nothing to split the sides in a quiet and fairly drab first half. Ballymena started reasonably well and within three minutes had the ball in the back of the net after Conor Keeley headed in Andy McGrory's corner, but the ball had gone out of play on its way in. Jude Winchester went close numerous times in Mid-Ulster on Saturday and tested the 'keeper again early on, with his well struck effort from outside the box gathered by Aaron McCarey.

The Sky Blues' passing in the opening twenty minutes was good and a neat move almost resulted in Cliftonville putting the ball through their own net. McCready, Ben Wylie and Sean Graham linked up well before the latter put a danger ball across goal, and Ryan O'Reilly did well to narrowly turn it behind for a corner. The Reds' first meaningful attempt didn't come until twenty minutes in, as Paul O'Neill skipped past Kelly and had a go, but it was easy pickings for Glendinning.

If United had controlled the opening twenty minutes, the remainder of the half saw the away side with the majority of the ball, but for the most part both goalkeeper's could've taken a seat in the empty stand's, with neither really tested.

Some decent Reds' play gave O'Neill the chance to put a ball across goal, but it was cut out by Graham. At the end of the half a mix up between Glendinning and McGrory gave Cliftonville a corner, but it was headed over by O'Neill at the near post, as a half that certainly won't live long in the memory ended scoreless.

After a pretty poor and eventless first 45 minutes, the opening twenty minutes of the second half was much of the same, with next to nothing happening. Both sides, although more so Cliftonville, were able to get crosses into the box, but none of them were coming to anything at all. On 68 minutes Winchester teed up Wylie on the edge and his first time shot was spilled by McCarey, but he gathered it second time round. After Chris Curran had struck wide and McCready and McCartan both tried and failed with spectacular acrobatic efforts within seconds of each other, from nowhere an exciting final fifteen minutes played out.

It looked like another game that would just get away from Ballymena when on 76 minutes Cliftonville were awarded a penalty. A long through ball from O'Neill caught everyone out and was latched onto by sub Daire O'Connor who was brought down by Glendinning, who was cautioned. Ryan Curran stepped up and sent Glendinning the wrong way for 0-1.

Ryan Waide and Ross Redman were introduced after the goal and helped United spring into action in an impressive final spell. Winchester had an effort with plenty of venom sail just over, but five minutes from time The Braidmen deservedly leveled through a stunning Shay McCartan special. United did really well to keep hold of the ball down the left with Redman and Winchester, and the former broke into the box before cutting the ball back for McCartan 25 yards from goal. From there McCartan did the rest, as he set himself before firing an unstoppable effort past McCarey, who had no chance.

Not content at being level, Ballymena chased a winner and it almost came when Winchester's ball in was delightfully flicked goalwards by Waide at the near post, but it was deflected out for a corner. In added time both teams were left aggrieved with the officials with Winchester through on goal only to be questionably flagged for offside, while a Cliftonville attack was stopped for the ball apparently having gone out of play, as it ended 1-1. An uninspiring 75 minutes followed by a thrilling climax, with both sides deserving off their point apiece.

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



Squad Statistics (as at March 2nd, 2021)


2020-2021 All Time
Age
Ross Glendinning (GK)27 8 - 150 -
Trai Hume18 191191
Conor Keeley23 7 - 7 -
Ben Wylie18 6 - 6 -
Joshua Kelly21 171493
Sean Graham20 4 - 4 -
Andrew McGrory29 5 - 7920
Jude Winchester27 1527810
Paul McElroy26 207207
Shay McCartan26 197197
Joe McCready30 131182
Ross Redman (sub)31 201201
Ryan Waide (sub)21 17 - 17 -



League Table (as at March 2nd, 2021)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 21 13 3 5 42
2. Coleraine 21 12 4 5 40
3. Crusaders 21 11 3 7 36
4. Larne 21 10 6 5 36
5. Cliftonville 23 10 6 7 36
6. Glentoran 19 9 6 4 33
7. Glenavon 19 7 7 5 28
8. BALLYMENA UTD 20 8 3 9 27
9. Warrenpoint Town 19 5 5 9 20
10. Carrick Rangers 19 3 4 12 13
11. Portadown 19 2 6 11 12
12. Dungannon Swifts 20 3 3 14 12