Ballymena United 4
Newington 1
Irish Cup (Round 6)

Ballymena United
4 - 1

Irish Cup (Round 6)
Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Ballymena Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

Douglas Wilson (39)
Ross Redman (pen.) (42)
Ryan Waide (77)
Ryan Waide (90)
Patrick Downey (50)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Paul Hamilton

Starting Eleven
1. Jordan Williamson
11. Steven McCullough
20. Robert McVarnock
3. Ross Redman
5. Scot Whiteside
4. Douglas Wilson
24. Sean Graham
14. Jack Henderson
8. Joshua Kelly
7. David McDaid
10. Ryan Waide
Marc Maybin .1
Aodhfionn Casey .3
Matthew Gorman .4
Kevin Bradley .5
Richard Gowdy .6
Conal Burns .7
Gary Warwick .8
Patrick Downey .10
Fra Rice .20
Jack Reilly .23
Paul Donnelly .28

21. Sean O'Neill
35. Craig Farquhar
18. Jordan Gibson
17. Andrew McGrory
2. Kym Nelson
30. Michael Place
12. Kenny Kane
Padraig Linton .24
Darren Stuart .9
Tiarnan McNicholl .11
Philip Doran .12
Seamus Duffy .18
Conor McCarron .19
Nick Beta .25

Michael Place for Robert McVarnock (63)
Kym Nelson for Joshua Kelly (74)
Darren Stuart for Patrick Downey (65)
Nick Beta for Conal Burns (65)
Tiarnan McNicholl for Fra Rice (72)
Philip Doran for Kevin Bradley (88)

Sean Graham (84)
Matthew Gorman (20)
Conal Burns (46)
Paul Donnelly (90)

Red Cards
None. Gary Warwick (78)
Match Officials

Lee Tavinder (Referee)
Andrew Nethery & George Argyropoulos (Assistants)
Diarmuid Harrigan (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United eventually eased into the quarter finals of the Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup after a 4-1 win over Newington at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

Following a heavy defeat at Solitude a week ago, David Jeffrey MBE made two changes for this cup tie with Championship opposition, as Jordan Williamson got a rare start in goal and Ryan Waide replaced Michael Place.

Both United and Newington were struggling for goals of late in their leagues, but early on both sides went close as the visitors started brightly. Steven McCullough almost had Ballymena ahead when his free kick from just outside the box rattled the crossbar, but down the other end Gary Warwick's quick feet had United in trouble, before Douglas Wilson produced a vital block.

Ballymena had the ball in the back of the Newington net fifteen minutes in when Waide headed across goal for Sean Graham to score, but Waide was offside in the build-up.

As the half rolled on Newington were giving Ballymena as good as they got, much like they did in the Toals Co. Antrim Shield encounter earlier on in the season, but just couldn't quite do enough to worry Williamson, and before long the Sky Blues turned a spell of pressure into a goal. After McDaid had wasted a good chance by delaying a shot too much, six minutes before the break it was Douglas Wilson who produced the goods to break the deadlock.

Ross Redman's cross was met by Robert McVarnock, who tried a spectacular overhead kick against his former club, but as his shot went right across the box and straight back to Redman, his second cross was met by Douglas Wilson who powerfully headed home.

Just three minutes later the hosts strengthened their grip on the tie with a quickfire second from the spot. Waide surged into the box, where he was hauled down by Paul Donnelly. It was Ross Redman who made his way to the ball to take the spot kick, and he added a goal to his assist as he sent Marc Maybin the wrong way, as a sticky enough half at times ended with United in charge.

If Ballymena had hoped to do a professional job in keeping Newington arm's length in the second half with their two-goal cushion, those plans were altered just five minutes into the half as the visitors controversially pulled a goal back. Conal Burns attacked down United's right and after facing up and getting past Wilson, his cross to the back post was met by Patrick Downey.

The number 10's downward header was brilliantly saved on the line by Williamson, but when Downey's appeals that the ball had crossed the line looked like falling on deaf ears, after some delay referee Lee Tavinder awarded the goal, much to the bemusement of Williamson and the United home end.

It was now very much game on and shortly after Downey's goal, Williamson was called into action to make a smart save to deny Warwick at his near post.

After seeing out Newington's mini spell, the home side finally got themselves back in the driving seat as they began to control the game and thwart any away side momentum. A tidy through ball from McCullough sent Waide through, but when he delayed shooting after getting round the 'keeper, he went down in amongst of a group of defenders, but his penalty appeals were turned away.

On sixty-three minutes, McVarnock was forced off against his old side after taking a strong hit around his ribs, and he was replaced by Michael Place in a straight swap. Just after the change Waide headed over, but despite Ballymena being on top there was still just the solitary goal in it, but that changed thirteen minutes from time, when a lovely move got United a third. Great play down the left flank ended with McDaid firing a ball across goal from the by-line, and standing waiting on it was Ryan Waide who smashed the ball into the roof of the net from point blank range.

Two minutes after conceding the third, Newington's hopes were all but dashed completely when Warwick's poorly timed challenge on Place resulted in Lee Tavinder reaching for a straight red card to reduce the visitors to ten men.

Williamson prevented a nervy ending to proceedings when he made a brave stop to keep out sub Nick Beta late on, but after chances came and went for McDaid and Graham, Waide put a shine on the scoreline with Ballymena's fourth in the last play of the game. Place's back heel to Wilson set the centre back off down the right, and he joined Redman in adding a goal to an assist when he passed for Ryan Waide, who fired home with a delightful finish inside the box for his second of the day.

Certainly not plain sailing throughout for United, but in the end good value for their win and a comfortable passage into the quarter-finals, where a trip to more Championship opposition in the face of Ballyclare Comrades, awaits.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at February 4th, 2023)

2022-2023 All Time
Jordan Williamson (GK)27 4 - 73 -
Steven McCullough28 25 - 1958
Robert McVarnock23 5 - 5 -
Ross Redman33 2521106
Scot Whiteside25 27 - 821
Douglas Wilson28 122313
Sean Graham22 192572
Jack Henderson22 211411
Joshua Kelly23 3031177
David McDaid32 30103010
Ryan Waide22 23410313
Kym Nelson (sub)27 233414
Michael Place (sub)24 272465

League Table (as at February 4th, 2023)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Cliftonville 26 17 5 4 56
2. Larne 25 16 5 4 53
3. Linfield 26 16 4 6 52
4. Coleraine 26 15 5 6 50
5. Crusaders 26 15 4 7 49
6. Glentoran 23 14 2 7 44
7. BALLYMENA 24 9 3 12 30
8. Glenavon 24 7 6 11 27
9. Carrick 24 7 4 13 25
10. Newry 25 6 2 17 20
11. Dungannon 26 5 2 19 17
12. Portadown 25 1 2 22 5