Ballymena United 1
Glentoran 3
League (NIFL Premiership)


Ballymena United
1 - 3
Glentoran 

League (NIFL Premiership)
Friday, February 17th, 2023
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,838
7:45 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Sean Graham (28)
Jay Donnelly (42)
Rory Donnelly (56)
Rory Donnelly (58)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Rodney McAree

Starting Eleven
1. Jordan Williamson
11. Steven McCullough
3. Ross Redman
5. Scot Whiteside
18. Jordan Gibson
24. Sean Graham
14. Jack Henderson
8. Joshua Kelly
2. Kym Nelson
30. Michael Place
10. Ryan Waide
Aaron McCarey .37
Marcus Kane .3
Luke McCullough .4
Aidan Wilson .5
Shay McCartan .7
Rhys Marshall .8
Jay Donnelly .9
Rory Donnelly .10
James Singleton .12
Terry Devlin .17
Conor McMenamin .24

Bench
27. Marcus Thompson
35. Craig Farquhar
20. Robert McVarnock
17. Andrew McGrory
25. George Tipton
12. Kenny Kane
31. David Taylor
Oliver Webber .25
Harry Murphy .18
Joe Crowe .21
Daniel Purkis .22
Hrvoje Plum .27
Aaron Wightman .29
Junior Chukwuemeka Uzokwe .40

Substitutions
Kenny Kane for Jordan Gibson (72)
Robert McVarnock for Michael Place (82)
George Tipton for Ryan Waide (87)
Hrvoje Plum for Conor McMenamin (72)
Aaron Wightman for Shay McCartan (72)
Junior Chukwuemeka Uzokwe for Rory Donnelly (72)
Joe Crowe for Marcus Kane (82)
Daniel Purkis for Jay Donnelly (82)

Cautions
Steven McCullough (43)
Ross Redman (55)
Hrvoje Plum (79)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Tony Clarke (Referee)
Stephen Donaldson & David Burns (Assistants)
Evan Boyce (Fourth Official)




Match Report


Two second half Glentoran goals in as many minutes did for Ballymena United as they lost 3-1 to the Glens at the Showgrounds on Friday night.

United made two changes from the midweek defeat to Carrick Rangers, as Jordan Williamson came back in to replace Sean O'Neill in goals, whilst Sean Graham returned from suspension to take the place of Douglas Wilson.

With no wins, or goals, in their last five league outings, and taking on a resurgent Glens since the appointment of Rodney McAree, United were always going to have a hard night ahead of them, but they came out fighting with a strong first half showing, after seeing out early visiting pressure.

Inside two minutes, Rhys Marshall's deep cross was narrowly missed at the back post by Jay Donnelly, before ten minutes later, a scramble in the box following a corner ended with Michael Place making a vital goal line clearance to keep the scores level.

Eventually, Ballymena worked their way into the game and in the final twenty-five minutes of the half there was little to split the sides. The Braidmen's first chance was a golden one when Ryan Waide, a real bright spark in the first half, chipped a cross from the by-line onto the head of a free Graham little more than six yards out, but he was denied by a stunning one-handed Aaron McCarey save.

On twenty-eight minutes the Sky Blues' hard work was rewarded by the game's opening goal, as United finally broke their goal drought to lead. It all started with a free kick for Glentoran in a great position, but after Shay McCartan had fired straight into the wall, a thumped clearance away was miscontrolled by Aidan Wilson on the halfway line. Wilson's poor touch allowed Sean Graham to pounce, but with it all to do, he ran the length of the half, before showing remarkable calmness and composure to slot the ball past McCarey for 1-0.

Three minutes after the goal, the Glens should've been level when a nice move ended with Terry Devlin playing in McCartan, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over against his old club.

As United continued to frustrate their opponents, who could find next to no way through a stubborn home side, who also carried plenty of threat going forward, Ballymena looked good value for a half time lead, until they conceded a poor leveller two minutes from the break. Marcus Kane and Rory Donnelly combined down the left, but the latter's cross was completely missed by Ross Redman as he went to clear it, allowing the ball to get through to Jay Donnelly at the back post, who couldn't miss, as a well contested half ended level.

The timing and nature of the equalising goal will have no doubt frustrated the United dugout, but that frustration grew when after a strong opening ten minutes to the second half, in which they put plenty of pressure on the Glens' back line, Ballymena conceded two hugely disappointing goals in two minutes to take the game beyond them. The first came on fifty-six minutes when another cross, this time Conor McMenamin's, was met at the back post by Wilson who beat Jordan Gibson to it, and his knock across goal left Rory Donnelly with a tap in.

The third goal minutes later came again from a cross that was defended with more untidiness from the hosts. United felt aggrieved at the awarding of a Glentoran free kick, but McMenamin's ball in prompted a messy Ballymena response, and it dropped for Rory Donnelly who easily put away his quickfire second.

Those two quick goals killed United, and the remaining half hour saw Glentoran ease home in second gear. There was little by way of chances, but there didn't really need to be for the visitors as Ballymena just couldn't find anything to trouble the Belfast side, who almost made it four when McCartan fired over.

The final fifteen minutes rather petered out in the heavy rain on Warden Street, and whilst United keep it at, nothing was happening, whilst at the other end Hrvoje Plum hit a free kick straight at Williamson, and Danny Purkis had a late finish flagged for offside.

3-1 is how it finished, with a solid first half showing from United matched by a poor second in which they caused their own downfall at times, as they suffer another defeat ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

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



Squad Statistics (as at February 17th, 2023)


2022-2023 All Time
Age
Jordan Williamson (GK)27 6 - 75 -
Steven McCullough28 28 - 1988
Ross Redman33 2821136
Scot Whiteside25 30 - 851
Jordan Gibson27 313313
Sean Graham22 213593
Jack Henderson22 241441
Joshua Kelly23 3331207
Kym Nelson27 263444
Michael Place24 302495
Ryan Waide23 26410613
Robert McVarnock (sub)23 6 - 6 -
George Tipton (sub)20 6 - 6 -
Kenny Kane (sub)23 231858



League Table (as at February 17th, 2023)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Larne 27 18 5 4 59
2. Cliftonville 28 18 5 5 59
3. Linfield 28 17 4 7 55
4. Coleraine 28 16 6 6 54
5. Crusaders 28 16 5 7 53
6. Glentoran 26 16 3 7 51
7. BALLYMENA 27 9 4 14 31
8. Carrick 26 9 4 13 31
9. Glenavon 26 7 7 12 28
10. Newry 28 6 2 20 20
11. Dungannon 29 6 2 21 20
12. Portadown 27 1 3 23 6