Ballymena United 0
Newry Town (City) 0
League (NIFL Premiership)


Ballymena United
0 - 0
Newry 

League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, January 24th, 2023
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 701
8:00 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
None. None.

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Darren Mullen

Starting Eleven
21. Sean O'Neill
4. Douglas Wilson
11. Steven McCullough
5. Scot Whiteside
24. Sean Graham
2. Kym Nelson
14. Jack Henderson
30. Michael Place
18. Jordan Gibson
17. Andrew McGrory
7. David McDaid
Steven Maguire .1
Noel Healy .3
Ryan McGivern .4
Daniel Hughes .9
Thomas Lockhart .10
James Teelan .15
John McGovern .16
Andrew Martin .17
Stephen Moan .18
Donal Scullion .33
Dale Montgomery .35

Bench
1. Jordan Williamson
20. Robert McVarnock
3. Ross Redman
35. Craig Farquhar
8. Joshua Kelly
12. Kenny Kane
10. Ryan Waide
Niall Brady .13
Declan Carville .8
Brian Healy .19
Philip Donnelly .21
Donal Rocks .29
Matthew Lusty .40
Dylan Sloan .42

Substitutions
Joshua Kelly for Kym Nelson (68)
Kenny Kane for Steven McCullough (68)
Robert McVarnock for Andrew McGrory (68)
Philip Donnelly for John McGovern (46)
Donal Rocks for Thomas Lockhart (64)
Declan Carville for Dale Montgomery (86)
Brian Healy for James Teelan (90)

Cautions
None. Dale Montgomery (50)
Declan Carville (88)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Diarmuid Harrigan (Referee)
Stephen Donaldson & Rachel Greer (Assistants)
Declan Hassan (Fourth Official)





Match Report


Ballymena United played out a first goalless draw at the Showgrounds in just shy of ten years in a drab 0-0 draw with Newry City on Tuesday night.

Ahead of a delay of fifteen minutes to kick off due to traffic delaying the arrival of Newry's players and the officials, there were two changes to the United side that was comprehensively outmatched at Linfield on Saturday, as Jack Henderson came in for Joshua Kelly and Michael Place replaced Ryan Waide. After sharing a win a piece in the previous two meetings this season, this was another close encounter between the sides, with a totally eventless opening twenty minutes a sign of things to come.

It took until the twenty-third minute for the first real sign of life with the first shot of the game, but Newry had been on top and Andrew Martin's long-range effort was easy pickings for Sean O'Neill.

A minute later the hosts ventured forward with some purpose when Place won the ball back inside Newry's half and played in David McDaid, but a last-ditch tackle prevented him from getting a shot away.

The quality on show wasn't helping the flow of the game, but neither was a string of stoppages as a number of Newry players went and stayed down, but it was the away side continuing to probably look the more likely out of the two, again without creating anything clear cut.

Towards the end of the half, Dale Montgomery fired well over from well out, before a deflected Noel Healy cross had O'Neill scrambling a tad as it landed on the roof of the net, but a poor half all round ended unsurprisingly scoreless.

The second half couldn't really have been any quieter than the first, and whilst it wasn't far off it, there was more action in the boxes at least. That said, it took until ten minutes in for an effort, the first of a few from Philip Donnelly who came on at the break, but O'Neill saved his curling shot from distance.

Ballymena finally had an effort on goal fifty-six minutes in, and it came courtesy of their brightest spark Place, who looked like one of very few who could make something happen. A really tidy, mazy run down the right ended with Place crossing for Jordan Gibson, but his tame header was held by Steven Maguire in the Newry goal.

After the hour mark, many in the home end thought the deadlock had finally been broken out of nowhere when a curling free kick from Steven McCullough looked to be going in, but instead it drifted just past the post, while at the other end Donnelly almost had Newry ahead when his thundering shot was vitally blocked by Andrew McGrory.

A triple substitution with twenty minutes to go needed to do something to revitalise the hosts, and as Joshua Kelly, Kenneth Kane and Robert McVarnock all entered, the latter's urgency inside a couple of minutes was refreshing to see. A lung busting run from his own half saw McVarnock cross for Gibson, but he saw his shot on the turn blocked just wide.

There was a scare for United when O'Neill collided with Daniel Hughes as the last man just outside the box, but referee Diarmuid Harrigan waved play on, and as Newry protested McDaid almost rubbed salt in the wounds, curling an attempt narrowly wide.

Towards the full time whistle in a game destined to be goalless from the off, it was Newry who put the late pressure on, as Donnelly flicked a header just wide off a corner, before the same man saw a shot from distance tipped over the bar by O'Neill in the dying embers.

Nothing came from the resulting corner, and in the end a matchup bereft of any quality or chances ended level, with Newry fans happy to take an earned point down the road, but for United fans, the lasting memory may only be the ending of the long standing 0-0 record that totalled nearly a decade.

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



Squad Statistics (as at January 24th, 2023)


2022-2023 All Time
Age
Sean O'Neill (GK)34 26 - 58 -
Douglas Wilson28 101292
Scot Whiteside25 25 - 801
Steven McCullough28 23 - 1938
Sean Graham22 172552
Michael Place24 252445
Andrew McGrory31 7113024
Jack Henderson22 191391
Kym Nelson27 223404
Jordan Gibson27 273273
David McDaid32 28102810
Robert McVarnock (sub)23 3 - 3 -
Joshua Kelly (sub)23 2831157
Kenny Kane (sub)23 201828



League Table (as at January 24th, 2023)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Cliftonville 25 16 5 4 53
2. Larne 24 16 4 4 52
3. Linfield 25 15 4 6 49
4. Crusaders 25 15 4 6 49
5. Coleraine 25 14 5 6 47
6. Glentoran 22 13 2 7 41
7. BALLYMENA 23 9 3 11 30
8. Glenavon 23 7 5 11 26
9. Carrick Rangers 23 7 3 13 24
10. Newry 24 6 1 17 19
11. Dungannon Swifts 25 5 2 18 17
12. Portadown 24 1 2 21 5