Cliftonville 3
Ballymena United 0
League Cup (Semi final)


Cliftonville 

3 - 0

Ballymena United


League Cup (Semi final)
Tuesday, December 14th, 2021
Solitude
7:45 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Ryan Curran (27)
Ryan Curran (44) (pen.)
Joe Gormley (59)
None.

Team Managers
Paddy McLaughlin David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
1. Luke McNicholas
2. Conor McDermott
3. Levi Ives
7. Christopher Curran
9. Ryan Curran
10. Paul O'Neill
11. Jamie McDonagh
13. Kris Lowe
15. Jonathan Addis
19. Joe Gormley
24. Luke Turner
Jordan Williamson
Steven McCullough
Conor Keeley
Ross Redman
Andrew McGrory
Douglas Wilson
Leroy Millar
Ryan Waide
Paul McElroy
Brendan Barr
Kenny Kane

Bench
20. Declan Dunne
6. Jamie Harney
12. Seanan Foster
14. Aaron Donnelly
17. Ronan Doherty
26. Colin Coates
32. Daniel Kearns
Sam Johnston
Lee Chapman
Sean Graham
Jack Henderson
Daniel Bramall
Jonté Smith
David Parkhouse

Substitutions
Aaron Donnelly for Paul O'Neill (75)
Daniel Kearns for Christopher Curran (86)
Jamie Harney for Luke Turner (88)
Colin Coates for Jonathan Addis (88)
David Parkhouse for Ryan Waide (57)
Sean Graham for Ross Redman (81)

Cautions
None. Jordan Williamson (88)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Andrew Davey (Referee)
Gareth Eakin & Andrew Nethery (Assistants)
Keith Kennedy (Fourth Official)



Match Report


Ballymena United exited the BetMcLean League Cup at the semi-final stage after suffering a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Cliftonville at Solitude on Tuesday evening.

United made two changes from Friday night's big win over Larne as Douglas Wilson returned from injury to replaced Jude Winchester, whose booking on Friday saw him suspended. Andrew McGrory also returned from injury to replace Lee Chapman.

The opening exchanges of the second meeting in ten days at Solitude between the teams was a cagey affair. Chances weren't following for either team, with both sides putting a number of balls into the box, but both Jordan Williamson and Luke McNicholas were out to collect the majority of them.

As the half went on the Reds began to dominate the midfield battle with plenty of space to operate, but despite creating very little with their possession, a slice of fortune saw Cliftonville go ahead on twenty-seven minutes. As the hosts attacked down the right side, Joe Gormley's hopeful low ball from the touchline somehow trickled its way into the box. It should've been met by Paul O'Neill, but he took a swing and a miss at the ball, throwing Williamson and United off and allowing the ball to fall kindly to Ryan Curran who slammed home.

Following the goal Ballymena began to look all at sea as Cliftonville chased a second. First, Luke Turner had a shot shot from a corner blocked in amongst a sea of Ballymena bodies, before O'Neill cut in and unleashed a shot from distance that flew inches over the bar. In the final five to ten minutes of the half Ballymena had their best spell as finally they began to pose some questions to the host's back line. After a couple of corners Andrew McGrory dragged a shot well wide from outside the box, but that turned out to be Ballymena's best chance of the night, rather summing up the evening.

Any hopes Ballymena harboured of levelling before the break went on forty-three minutes as Cliftonville had the chance to double their lead from the penalty spot. A mix up between McGrory and Williamson allowed Gormley to pounce on their hesitancy, before he was brought down by Williamson, despite the 'keeper seeming to get the ball first. Ryan Curran stepped up and dispatched his penalty down the middle to double his and Cliftonville's goal tally at the break.

Despite being way off the performance shown against Larne on Friday night, Ballymena probably could've counted themselves unlucky to be two behind at the interval, but the second half was almost a non event as Cliftonville played in second gear against a Sky Blues side that had nothing to offer.

The tie was all but settled seven minutes into the half as Joe Gormley added a third. Levi Ives switched play to Conor McDermott on the left, and he laid off Gormley in the box, whose off balance finish was too strong for Williamson as he helped it into the roof of the net in front of Ballymena's large travelling support.

The final half hour took on the feel of a training match in truth with Ballymena unable to create anything to trouble Cliftonville, who were more than happy to cruise through the remainder of the game.

David Parkhouse was brought on after the third goal, as well as Sean Graham making his reappearance late on, but neither could help turn the tide.

As Cliftonville allowed Ballymena more possession as the half went on, they were left frustrated as a number of long balls were cut out effectively by those in red. Late on Conor Keeley narrowly missed being on the end of a corner, before Wilson headed wide from another set piece.

In the dying embers Gormley should've added a fourth when he found himself free at the back post, however he lifted his effort over Williamson and the crossbar, but it would make little difference as Cliftonville eased past a very off colour United to set up a final date with Coleraine.

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



Squad Statistics (as at December 14th, 2021)


2021-2022 All Time
Age
Jordan Williamson (GK)26 22 - 61 -
Conor Keeley24 203397
Steven McCullough27 15 - 1455
Ross Redman32 20 - 623
Andrew McGrory29 14110321
Leroy Millar26 23221230
Douglas Wilson27 151151
Brendan Barr20 16 - 16 -
Paul McElroy27 2376523
Kenny Kane22 143406
Ryan Waide21 192576
Sean Graham (sub)21 1 - 18 -
David Parkhouse (sub)22 3 - 3 -



League Table (as at December 14th, 2021)



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Pld W D L +/- Pts

* - Table split into two divisions of six.