Ballymena United 0
Larne 3
League (NIFL Premiership)


Ballymena United
0 - 3
Larne 

League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, February 21st, 2023
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,156
7:45 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
None. Lee Bonis (40)
Ryan Waide (47) (o.g.)
Andrew Ryan (72)

Team Managers
David Jeffrey
Tiernan Lynch

Starting Eleven
1. Jordan Williamson
11. Steven McCullough
5. Scot Whiteside
4. Douglas Wilson
24. Sean Graham
2. Kym Nelson
14. Jack Henderson
30. Michael Place
8. Joshua Kelly
7. David McDaid
10. Ryan Waide
Rohan Ferguson .1
Graham Kelly .3
Albert Watson .4
Fuad Sule .5
Lee Bonis .10
Aaron Donnelly .15
Cian Bolger .18
Joe Thomson .19
Leroy Millar .21
Tomas Cosgrove .23
Andrew Ryan .29

Bench
27. Marcus Thompson
20. Robert McVarnock
3. Ross Redman
35. Craig Farquhar
18. Jordan Gibson
25. George Tipton
12. Kenny Kane
Jamie Pardington .28
Daniel Kearns .7
Paul O'Neill .9
Shea Gordon .16
Max Hutchinson .17
Thomas Maguire .20
Michael Glynn .22

Substitutions
Kenny Kane for Ryan Waide (69)
Jordan Gibson for David McDaid (69)
Robert McVarnock for Michael Place (69)
George Tipton for Joshua Kelly (77)
Craig Farquhar for Douglas Wilson (77)
Shea Gordon for Albert Watson (62)
Michael Glynn for Graham Kelly (77)
Paul O'Neill for Lee Bonis (77)
Daniel Kearns for Andrew Ryan (86)
Thomas Maguire for Joe Thomson (86)

Cautions
Michael Place (36)
Joshua Kelly (51)
Andrew Ryan (25)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Declan Hassan (Referee)
David Burns & Brian Wilson (Assistants)
Diarmuid Harrigan (Fourth Official)




Match Report


Ballymena United's recent struggles continued as they were well beaten in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to league leaders Larne at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night.

After Friday night's defeat at The Showgrounds to Glentoran, David Jeffrey made two changes for the visit of Larne, as David McDaid returned from injury to replace Jordan Gibson, while Douglas Wilson was back from suspension to replace Ross Redman.

Having picked up a few big results against top six sides at home already this season, Ballymena needed another one here against their rivals who were looking to open up a six-point lead at the top, and the opening half hour was a fairly even one all things considered. Any early chances were half ones at best but came mostly Larne's way, as Cian Bolger headed over, Lee Bonis fired high and wide from distance and Jordan Williamson made a good save down low to his right following a header, but it was difficult to tell who had directed it goalwards.

Despite being far from blown away, United struggled to really get near the visitor's box, and in truth a chance for McDaid was the only real shot at goal they had all night. Some good play down the left saw Ryan Waide tee up Steven McCullough for a dangerous cross to a free McDaid at the back post, but he couldn't quite direct his headed goalward, as it flew well wide.

As the half went on Larne began to assert more dominance, still without giving Williamson much food for thought, but five minutes before the break, they had a breakthrough. A quick throw in down the left was into the path of Andrew Ryan and as he got to the by-line he cut the ball back into the box for Lee Bonis, who slammed home the opener.

The Braidmen may have had a right to feel disappointed to not be level going into the break, but the second half started in disastrous fashion as Larne doubled their lead inside a minute, to take control of a half in which the hosts didn't threaten at all. An early corner from Joe Thompson was flicked on by Bonis, but in a rather unlucky turn of events, his flick ricocheted off Ryan Waide, who knew little about it, and into the net for an own goal.

A couple of minutes later it was nearly three when a sliced half volley from Tomas Cosgrove flew into the side netting, but as the half progressed, while there wasn't an abundance of Invermen chances, they were cruising along with United simply unable to find a response.

Albert Watson went close with a header before Ballymena made a triple change to try and inject some life into a game that really was just sliding away, as Kenneth Kane, Jordan Gibson and Robert McVarnock were all introduced.

With seventeen minutes left, if a United comeback had looked unlikely before, it certainly did now as Larne extended their lead with a third. Some slack play saw Leroy Millar, making his return to Warden Street for the first time since making the move over Shanes Hill, dispossess Gibson close to his own box, and after finding Cosgrove on the overlap, his cross was met by the Scotsman Andrew Ryan, who easily converted at close range.

That truly was it in terms of a contest with virtually nothing happening in the final fifteen minutes, bar the introduction of George Tipton and Craig Farquhar, in a switch that marked a league debut for the centre half Farquhar.
Larne cantered home then to take three points back down the road, on a night were United just couldn't trouble the Inver Reds at all, as the winless league run stretches to seven games ahead of Saturday's visit of Crusaders.

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



Squad Statistics (as at February 21st, 2023)


2022-2023 All Time
Age
Jordan Williamson (GK)27 7 - 76 -
Steven McCullough28 29 - 1998
Douglas Wilson28 152343
Scot Whiteside25 31 - 861
Joshua Kelly23 3431217
Michael Place24 312505
Sean Graham22 223603
Jack Henderson22 251451
Kym Nelson27 273454
Ryan Waide23 27410713
David McDaid32 32103210
Craig Farquhar (sub)19 1 - 1 -
Robert McVarnock (sub)23 7 - 7 -
Jordan Gibson (sub)27 323323
George Tipton (sub)20 7 - 7 -
Kenny Kane (sub)23 241868



League Table (as at February 21st, 2023)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Larne 29 20 5 4 65
2. Cliftonville 29 18 5 6 59
3. Linfield 29 18 4 7 58
4. Crusaders 29 17 5 7 56
5. Coleraine 29 16 6 7 54
6. Glentoran 26 16 3 7 51
7. BALLYMENA 28 9 4 15 31
8. Carrick 27 9 4 14 31
9. Glenavon 27 7 7 13 28
10. Newry 28 6 2 20 20
11. Dungannon 29 6 2 21 20
12. Portadown 28 2 3 23 9