3 - 0
3 - 0
League (NIFL Premiership)
David Parkhouse (6)
Mark Surgenor (o.g.) (8)
Leroy Millar (25)
1. Jordan Williamson
22. Conor Keeley
25. Mal Smith
11. Steven McCullough
23. Leroy Millar
24. Sean Graham
28. Kym Nelson
14. Jack Henderson
10. Ryan Waide
16. Brendan Barr
19. David Parkhouse
Aaron Hogg .18
Kurtis Forsythe .2
Mark Surgenor .4
Jim Ervin .5
David Cushley .7
Daniel Kelly .10
Alexander Gawne .11
Reece Glendinning .23
Matthew Carson .31
Ben Tilney .39
Lloyd Anderson .42
26. Sam Johnston
3. Ross Redman
33. Jordan McMullan
30. Michael Place
8. Joshua Kelly
9. Paul McElroy
12. Kenny Kane
Matthew Skeet .1
Steven Gordon .6
Ewan Kelly .12
Ronan Kalla .14
Jack Chambers .28
Paul Waite .33
Peter McKiernan .34
Joshua Kelly for Jack Henderson (66)
Paul McElroy for David Parkhouse (66)
Ross Redman for Kym Nelson (78)
Jordan McMullan for Mal Smith (88)
Steven Gordon for Kurtis Forsythe (40)
Jack Chambers for Lloyd Anderson (68)
Peter McKiernan for Alexander Gawne (77)
Ewan Kelly for Ben Tilney (77)
Ryan Waide (43)
Shane Andrews (Referee)
BALLYMENA United put on a commanding display in their final home game of the season as they eased to a 3-0 victory over Carrick Rangers on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Showgrounds.
After a disappointing performance and result during the week against Warrenpoint, David Jeffrey made five changes to his side, including a return from injury for David Parkhouse and Conor Keeley.
Before kick-off at the Showgrounds, a minute silence was held in United's annual event of remembering those from the Sky Blues family who we've sadly lost over the course of this season.
To the action and with 7th place still a very slim possibility and a performance needed ahead of Tuesday night's Irish Cup semi-final, playing into a very strong wind United made the perfect start with two goals in the first ten minutes. On six minutes Keeley, who left Warden Street with a boot load of trophies following the end of season presentation at full time, lined a shot up from distance, but the effort was a poor one.
Fortunately for the hosts, Keeley's shot hit Parkhouse, and when no flag went up, Parkhouse made the most of the good fortune by sliding the ball under Aaron Hogg.
Just two minutes later the Braidmen had a second as Mark Surgenor put through his own net. Ballymena had worked the move well before Brendan Barr, who was outstanding all day, was played in down the right. Barr then delivered a menacing ball into the box and the ex-United man Surgenor left his 'keeper no chance as he directed a header into his own goal at the near post.
Despite a sizeable gap back to 11th placed Portadown, Carrick still weren't mathematical safe from the relegation play-off spot, and after Ryan Waide dragged a shot just wide after a free kick routine with Steven McCullough, the Gers goal difference took another hit on twenty-five minutes when Ballymena made it 3-0. Again, it was well worked from the home side, who were always looking to get the ball down and play. This time down the left Sean Graham found Leroy Millar, who held off a couple of defenders before striking with his weaker right foot from the top of the box. The skipper's effort looked to going well wide, but with a huge assist from the wind his shot came back in before finding its way into the net over the top of a helpless Hogg.
A week on from his free kick special to take three points off Portadown, McCullough had another go ten minutes before the break, but he couldn't repeat the trick second time round as he fired straight at Hogg, but in a dominating first half showing United took a big lead to the interval.
With a good lead established in the opening forty-five minutes and players looking to no doubt manage themselves well with Tuesday's date with Newry in mind, the second half was understandably a bit of a non-event.
The away side hadn't troubled Jordan Williamson at all in the first half, and early in the second at least got a shot or two away. Daniel Kelly had two half chances within a minute of each other, but he dragged his first effort well wide before sending a powerful header into the gloves of Williamson.
With very little happening the home side made a couple of changes as Paul McElroy and Josh Kelly replaced Parkhouse and Jack Henderson, who had both put in decent displays.
Ballymena were unable to really use the wind to their advantage in the second period, but it almost paid dividends when a free kick swung in by McCullough picked up momentum through the air as it missed everyone in the box and drifted inches wide, with a carbon copy later producing the same outcome towards the end of the game.
A few more subs broke the game up further as Kym Nelson was forced off for Ross Redman, another winner on awards day, while Kenneth Kane and Jordan McMullan were also introduced.
The closest either team came in the second half was three minutes from time. From the edge of the box McElroy tried to float home a fourth, but his effort was wonderfully tipped over the crossbar by Hogg.
However, over the course of the ninety minutes, Ballymena put in an assured display over Stuart King's men, who are now safe from the drop, as United warmed themselves up nicely for the huge cup tie in Lurgan in three days time.
Match report written by Philip McPeake (www.ballymenaunitedfc.com)
|Jordan Williamson (GK)||26||28||-||67||-|
|Ross Redman (sub)||32||41||1||83||4|
|Jordan McMullan (sub)||19||2||-||2||-|
|Joshua Kelly (sub)||23||13||-||84||4|
|Paul McElroy (sub)||27||44||14||86||30|
* - Table split into two divisions of six.