Glentoran 1
Ballymena United 0
League (NIFL Premiership)


Glentoran 

1 - 0

Ballymena United


League (NIFL Premiership)
Tuesday, March 14th, 2023
The Oval
Attendance: 2,219
7:45 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Daniel Purkis (88) None.

Team Managers
Rodney McAree David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
25. Oliver Webber
3. Marcus Kane
4. Luke McCullough
5. Aidan Wilson
6. Bobby Burns
8. Rhys Marshall
12. James Singleton
17. Terry Devlin
22. Daniel Purkis
24. Conor McMenamin
38. Niall McGinn
Jordan Williamson .1
Robert McVarnock .20
Craig Farquhar .35
Douglas Wilson .4
Ross Redman .3
Kym Nelson .2
Sean Graham .24
Michael Place .30
Kenny Kane .12
David McDaid .7
Ryan Waide .10

Bench
36. Alex Henderson
7. Shay McCartan
9. Jay Donnelly
10. Rory Donnelly
21. Joe Crowe
29. Aaron Wightman
40. Chukwuemeka Uzokwe
Steven McCullough .11
Andrew McGrory .17
Nathan Clarke .34
Lewis Tennant .32
Jordan Gibson .18
George Tipton .25
Jack Henderson .14

Substitutions
Shay McCartan for Marcus Kane (67)
Aaron Wightman for Niall McGinn (74)
Jay Donnelly for Terry Devlin (82)
Steven McCullough for Ryan Waide (69)
Andrew McGrory for Michael Place (73)
Jordan Gibson for Kym Nelson (90)

Cautions
None. Ross Redman (45)
Douglas Wilson (70)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Evan Boyce (Referee)
George Argyropoulos & Stephen Bell (Assistants)
Ben McMaster (Fourth Official)



Match Report


Ballymena United were minutes away from a more than deserved point at the BetMcLean Oval before a late Daniel Purkis goal gave Glentoran a 1-0 win in Belfast on Tuesday evening.

After no game at the weekend, David Jeffrey made three changes from last Tuesday, as suspension and injury ruled out Scot Whiteside and Joshua Kelly, whilst Jack Henderson also dropped out. The three were replaced by Douglas Wilson, Michael Place and Ryan Waide.

With the Glens exiting the Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup and surely league title race within the last couple of weeks, United perhaps sensed half an opportunity in East Belfast, but early on it was the hosts doing all the running as they pegged their visitors back in their own box. With room on the left, Danny Purkis cut in and bent a shot narrowly wide in the game's first chance five minutes in, before Aidan Wilson went extremely close with two headers in as many minutes.

After seeing out Glentoran's early wave of pressure, Ballymena settled into the game and the final half hour of the first half saw nothing to split the sides. Inside four minutes David McDaid found himself denied twice by Wilson blocks in United's first chances. First, he was found by a lovely reverse through ball from Sean Graham, only to see his shot blocked, before a lovely turn in a more solo effort saw McDaid get a shot away in the box, only to be denied again by Wilson. Then, on twenty-three minutes, came a huge opening for the Sky Blues and it again fell McDaid's way. Kenneth Kane did well down the right to swing an inviting ball into the box, but when it was only cleared to McDaid around the penalty spot, in acres of space he skewed a glorious chance wide.

The rest of the half was even without many chances, but United were well in the game now and following on from last week, there seemed to be a conscious attempt to be more progressive in playing out from the back. Towards the end of the half Kane found space from distance before curling a decent effort just over, while at the other end a Niall McGinn cross was flicked onto the top of the crossbar by Purkis, as a competitive half ended level.

Ballymena picked up the second half where they'd left the first and started brightly. Inside five minutes they went close when Kym Nelson smacked a ball across goal and with a split second to think McDaid was able to turn the ball goalwards but over, with United's number 7 doing everything right on the ball all evening, but again just failing to turn some outstanding individual play into goals.

With around an hour to go Glentoran finally turned the pressure up a bit on United as they began to somewhat dominate the ball for periods of time, but more often than not they were met by a wall in Wilson, and more particularly, an outstanding Craig Farquhar. That said, after Conor McMenamin forced Jordan Williamson into a routine save, when the Glens did get in behind, they somehow didn't score. McMenamin's cross was nodded back across the face the goal by Purkis to James Singleton and McGinn who were both waiting on the back post, but Singleton somehow missed the ball when sliding in to finish, putting McGinn off behind him, as the ball rolled past them both and out for a goal kick.

Further chances came as McMenamin struck wide by inches, before a ball over the top looked set to break the deadlock when Purkis latched onto it, but he was denied by a stunning Williamson save, with the goalkeeper simply top drawer throughout the game.

After again seeing out a spell of sustained Glens pressure, United went again with ten to go and created a couple of half chances of their own, as Kane shot straight at Oliver Webber, before substitute Steven McCullough burst forward through the middle, only to scuff a shot wide from distance.

With two minutes left Ballymena looked set to close out a solid night's work with a thoroughly deserved point, only for there to be late heartache. Substitute Andrew McGrory was hesitant in clearing his lines outside the box, allowing Shay McCartan to steal the ball, and he slid a through ball into the box for Daniel Purkis, who finished well into the bottom corner.

As the Braidmen threw caution to the wind in five minutes of added time, Glentoran should've had a second as United pushed men forward. Jay Donnelly was played in virtually one on one only for referee Evan Boyce to strangely bring play back for a home free kick, before McMenamin put the ball across goal for Donnelly in a two on one situation, only for Williamson to save brilliantly again.

Ballymena could find no late leveller as they fell to defeat, making it no win in ten league games, as on the night a good showing deserved more, but ultimately saw them again leave with no goals, and no points.

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



Squad Statistics (as at March 14th, 2023)


2022-2023 All Time
Age
Jordan Williamson (GK)27 11 - 80 -
Craig Farquhar19 5 - 5 -
Douglas Wilson29 172363
Ross Redman33 3021156
Robert McVarnock23 11 - 11 -
Kym Nelson27 313494
Michael Place24 332525
Sean Graham22 263643
Ryan Waide23 29410913
Kenny Kane23 281908
David McDaid32 36113611
Steven McCullough (sub)28 33 - 2038
Jordan Gibson (sub)27 353353
Andrew McGrory (sub)31 12213525



League Table (as at March 14th, 2023)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Larne 31 21 6 4 69
2. Cliftonville 31 19 6 6 63
3. Linfield 31 19 5 7 62
4. Glentoran 31 18 4 9 58
5. Crusaders 31 17 7 7 58
6. Coleraine 31 17 6 8 57
7. Carrick 31 11 4 16 37
8. Glenavon 31 9 8 14 35
9. BALLYMENA 31 9 5 17 32
10. Newry 31 7 2 22 23
11. Dungannon 31 6 2 23 20
12. Portadown 31 4 3 24 15