Ballymena United 1
Linfield 4
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
1 - 4

League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,631
7:45 PM Kick-off

Tony Kane (35)
Andrew Waterworth (21)
Stephen Lowry (59)
Mark Haughey (65)
Jamie Mulgrew (90)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
David Healy

Starting Eleven
18. Alan Blayney
6. Denver Gage
4. Kyle Owens
21. Jim Ervin
5. Jonathan Flynn
2. Tony Kane
10. Allan Jenkins
12. William Faulkner
15. Eoin Kane
14. Cathair Friel
27. Jonathan McMurray
Roy Carroll
Mark Stafford
Mark Haughey
Jimmy Callacher
Andrew Waterworth
Sean Ward
Niall Quinn
Stephen Lowry
Jamie Mulgrew
Ross Clarke
Paul Smyth

38. Ben McCauley
34. Caolan Loughran
23. Leroy Millar
25. Kyle Mackie
9. Darren Henderson
Kirk Millar
Chris Casement
Ross Gaynor
Josh Carson
Aaron Burns

Leroy Millar for Denver Gage (77)
Ross Gaynor for Ross Clarke (52)
Kirk Millar for Paul Smyth (80)
Chris Casement for Stephen Lowry (85)

Jonathan Flynn (19)
Allan Jenkins (73)
Ross Clarke (16)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Keith Kennedy (Referee)

Match Report

BALLYMENA United missed the chance to go second in the Danske Bank Premiership after a 4-1 defeat to Linfield.

It was a relatively quiet first half in terms of clear cut chances at the Showgrounds with the first opening of note coming after 8 minutes. A Paul Smyth corner was met by the head of defender Jimmy Callacher, but he couldn't keep it down. 3 minutes later, Alan Blayney was called into action, saving well from a Mark Stafford header at the far post.

The game's opener came on 21 minutes. Mark Haughey was given time to put a good ball into the box and it was headed home by Andrew Waterworth, over the top of Blayney's head.

It took until the 31st minute for United to go close. A long throw in eventually fell to a free Jim Ervin, but he flashed his first time shot wide. The Sky Blues did draw level on 35 minutes. Sean Ward conceded a foul 20 yards out and Tony Kane stepped up. His wonderfully placed effort clipped the post on its way in to get Kane into double figures for the season.

Linfield had the better start to the second half as Blayney saved well from Smyth as the Linfield man broke free on 48 minutes. Linfield continued to push as Allan Jenkins made a good block before Smyth could've gave them the lead, but headed over. On the hour mark Linfield did move infront through Stephen Lowry. Blayney came for the ball but didnt get to it and the ball was eventually bundled over the line by Lowry, despite the best efforts to clear it by Denver Gage. Just 6 minutes later, Linfield netted a third. After initially dealing with a corner well, Ballymena couldn't stop a Smyth cross, which passed by United's defenders and was turned home by Mark Haughey.

As Ballymena continued to struggle to create chances, with the best effort another Tony Kane free kick which went well wide, the game looked over when Gage conceded a penalty on 74 minutes. Substitute Ross Gaynor stood up, but blasted his spot kick wide of Blayney's goal to keep the score at 3-1.

Straight down the other end, Ervin almost found Jenkins after some neat United build up play, but Jenkins couldn't quite turn the ball towards goal before Linfield cleared their lines.

United's lacklustre performance was summed up in added time when Kyle Owens attempted a volley inside the box, but the ball went well wide. Linfield skipper Jamie Mulgrew added insult to injury with the last kick of the game as a good run resulted in the midfielder firing past Blayney, off the post, for Linfield's fourth, in what was an uncharacteristic performance from the Sky Blues.

Match report written by Phillip McPeake

Squad Statistics (as at November 8th, 2016)

2016-2017 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)35 10 - 72 -
Jonathan Flynn26 8 - 231
Kyle Owens24 193193
Jim Ervin31 19 - 972
Tony Kane29 181020722
Denver Gage29 31472
Allan Jenkins35 18522348
Eoin Kane20 7 - 412
William Faulkner26 152488
Cathair Friel23 19141914
Jonathan McMurray22 178178
Leroy Millar (sub)21 12 - 301

League Table (as at November 8th, 2016)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 15 10 4 1 22 34
2. Linfield 15 8 6 1 21 30
3. BALLYMENA UTD 15 8 3 4 2 27
4. Cliftonville 15 8 2 5 9 26
5. Coleraine 15 6 6 3 7 24
6. Glenavon 15 5 7 3 4 22
7. Ards 15 6 2 7 -2 20
8. Dungannon 15 4 6 5 7 18
9. Glentoran 15 5 3 7 -9 18
10. Ballinamallard Utd 15 3 2 10 -18 11
11. Carrick 15 2 2 11 -24 8
12. Portadown 15 3 1 11 -19 -2

* - Table split into two divisions of six.