Ballymena United 4
Cliftonville 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


Ballymena United
4 - 1
Cliftonville 

League (NIFL Premiership)
Friday, December 2nd, 2022
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,574
3:00 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
David McDaid (36)
Kym Nelson (53)
Joshua Kelly (55)
David McDaid (82)
Ronan Hale (70)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Paddy McLaughlin

Starting Eleven
21. Sean O'Neill
4. Douglas Wilson
22. Conor Keeley
11. Steven McCullough
3. Ross Redman
5. Scot Whiteside
8. Joshua Kelly
30. Michael Place
18. Jordan Gibson
2. Kym Nelson
7. David McDaid
Nathan Gartside .16
Jonathan Addis .4
Christopher Gallagher .6
Rory Hale .8
Ryan Curran .9
Kris Lowe .13
Jamie Robinson .14
Ronan Doherty .17
Joe Gormley .19
Luke Turner .24
Ronan Hale .25

Bench
1. Jordan Williamson
17. Andrew McGrory
24. Sean Graham
14. Jack Henderson
12. Kenny Kane
9. Paul McElroy
10. Ryan Waide
Orann Donnelly .40
Chris Curran .7
Jamie McDonagh .11
Gerard Storey .21
Odhran Casey .22
Colin Coates .26
Sean Moore .38

Substitutions
Ryan Waide for Kym Nelson (75)
Sean Graham for Jordan Gibson (75)
Jack Henderson for Ross Redman (90)
Sean Moore for Luke Turner (56)
Jamie McDonagh for Rory Hale (56)
Odhran Casey for Ronan Doherty (70)
Chris Curran for Christopher Gallagher (70)

Cautions
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Ian McNabb (Referee)
Ken Ross & David Burns (Assistants)
Tim Marshall (Fourth Official)




Match Report


David McDaid produced a display to remember to help a sensational Ballymena United to a 4-1 victory over Cliftonville at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

After picking up three points on the road at Carrick last time out, there was just one injury enforced change for David Jeffrey, as Steven McCullough came back in to replace Evan Tweed.

With both teams in a decent run of form, it was the title chasing visitors who had the better chances early doors, as Ronan Hale saw shots deflect wide and over, before a real good chance for Joe Gormley ended with his deflected effort being well saved by Sean O'Neill.

Despite not seeing the early chances fall their way, United had started well, and eventually their tidy passages of play began to yield openings. Michael Place did well to pick out Ross Redman, who had roamed into the box, but his header produced a good stop out of Nathan Gartside.

Another really nice move ended with Kym Nelson dragging a shot to the far post just wide, before Jordan Gibson fired over, but on thirty-six minutes Ballymena took a much-deserved lead thanks to a goal from David McDaid that would've lit up the World Cup, let alone Warden Street. In a crowded box, McDaid brought down a ball in, spun Jonny Addis, before dancing his way past a tackle, and then wrapped it off by somehow rolling the ball round Gartside and into the net all in one movement, in a goal that had to almost be seen in person to be believed.

The Sky Blues started the second half the way they had finished the first, and despite O'Neill making a top save to paw away a Ronan Hale curling effort, Ballymena pressed on and had a second eight minutes into the half through more brilliance from McDaid. Kym Nelson cleared the ball to McDaid who was just inside the Cliftonville half, but he shrugged off Luke Turner with ease and burst down the right, before his fired ball across the face of goal was met by Kym Nelson, who had continued his run, to score on the slide and make it 2-0, as Nelson's good run of goal scoring form continued.

Four minutes later it was 3-0, as Ballymena's blitz must've left an unbeaten in eight Cliftonville shell-shocked. Nelson did wonderfully well again to beat his man and find McDaid with the outside of his boot. In the box, McDaid was at it again as he held the ball up before slotting it through the legs of Addis to find Joshua Kelly, and the skipper did the rest as he placed his finish through Gartside's legs for another outstanding goal, to cap off the classiest of performances from Kelly himself.

Following United's third, the Reds were finally able to get hold of the ball and begin to try and test Ballymena's back line, but they stumbled across a back five who were all but flawless. When a chance did come, Gormley nodded a header back across goal for Turner, who had to score from inside the six yard box, but unbelievably O'Neill was able to keep his header out with a stunning save.

A minute later there was nothing O'Neill could do as Cliftonville pulled a goal back through a cracking strike from Ronan Hale. A cross was cleared out to Hale on the edge of the box and he provided a clean side footed finish into the top corner that left O'Neill no chance.

The away side upped it after the goal, with Ballymena just pushed back a few yards and with a good bit of defending to do, and O'Neill was on hand to save well again from sub Chris Curran, but after seeing out a difficult spell, United wrapped up an emphatic win seven minutes from time.

After McCullough had sent a free kick agonisingly wide, the resulting goal kick was completely miss hit by Gartside and it was pounced on by sub Ryan Waide, who went in one on one, only to unselfishly square it for David McDaid to tap in. After scoring his 150th league goal in the first half, McDaid added number 151, as his two goals and two assists capped an all-time great Showgrounds performance.

Redman made way for Jack Henderson late on, but Ballymena had to settle for four in a remarkable performance up there with very best under David Jeffrey, with every single player adding their bit to a performance to remember.

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



Squad Statistics (as at December 2nd, 2022)


2022-2023 All Time
Age
Sean O'Neill (GK)34 19 - 51 -
Ross Redman33 1911045
Scot Whiteside25 18 - 731
Steven McCullough28 17 - 1878
Douglas Wilson28 41232
Conor Keeley24 1727410
Kym Nelson27 163344
Joshua Kelly23 2131087
Jordan Gibson27 203203
Michael Place24 192385
David McDaid31 219219
Sean Graham (sub)22 111491
Jack Henderson (sub)22 131331
Ryan Waide (sub)22 1519510



League Table (as at December 2nd, 2022)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Larne 18 13 2 3 41
2. Cliftonville 16 11 3 2 36
3. Glentoran 15 11 2 2 35
4. Crusaders 17 10 3 4 33
5. Linfield 17 10 3 4 33
6. Coleraine 17 8 3 6 27
7. Carrick Rangers 17 7 1 9 22
8. Glenavon 18 5 5 8 20
9. BALLYMENA 16 6 2 8 20
10. Newry 17 5 0 12 15
11. Dungannon Swifts 17 2 1 14 7
12. Portadown 17 0 1 16 1