Ballymena United 0
Newry Town (City) 2
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
0 - 2

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, October 7th, 2023
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 904
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Adam Salley (19)
Lee Newell (84)

Team Managers
Jim Ervin
Gary Boyle

Starting Eleven
1. Sean O'Neill
3. Corrie Burns
6. Colin Coates
11. Steven McCullough
5. Scot Whiteside
28. Dylan Boyle
14. John McGuigan
2. Kym Nelson
4. Donal Rocks
16. Fraser Taylor
27. Jonathan McMurray
Steven Maguire .1
Noel Healy .3
Ryan McGivern .4
Barney McKeown .5
Ciaran O'Connor .7
Adam Carroll .8
Daniel Hughes .9
Thomas Lockhart .10
Adam Salley .14
Liam Bagnall .16
George Poynton .38

26. Sam Johnston
20. TJ Murray
30. Michael Place
21. Lewis Tennant
15. Fiontan O'Boyle
33. Noah Stewart
37. Isaac Westendorf
Tom Murphy .31
Andrew Martin .17
Stephen Moan .18
Brian Healy .19
Lorcan Forde .24
Lee Newell .29
Jordan Mooney .36

Michael Place for John McGuigan (56)
Isaac Westendorf for Jonathan McMurray (56)
Fiontan O'Boyle for Donal Rocks (74)
Noah Stewart for Dylan Boyle (86)
Jordan Mooney for Ciaran O'Connor (59)
Andrew Martin for Daniel Hughes (71)
Lee Newell for Adam Carroll (77)

Corrie Burns (38)
Thomas Lockhart (2)
Ciaran O'Connor (15)
Ryan McGivern (44)
Adam Salley (55)
Daniel Hughes (59)
Noel Healy (89)

Red Cards
Corrie Burns (52)
Ryan McGivern (69)
Match Officials

Ian McNabb (Referee)
Stephen Bell & Gavin Hegarty (Assistants)
Steven Gregg (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United remain without a point at home in the league this season after another poor showing led to a 2-0 defeat to Newry at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

After a host of changes during the week to comfortably defeat Lisburn Distillery in the League Cup, United were unchanged from the side that won a week ago in the league at Dungannon, whilst Isaac Westendorf returned to the bench after injury.

As the leagues bottom two went head-to-head on Warden Street, Ballymena would've hoped to build on two wins in a week with another manageable game on paper, and they slightly shaded the opening knockings. The first couple of chances came the hosts way, as Johnathan McMurray struck straight at Steven Maguire after great work by Donal Rocks, before Kym Nelson did the same with a header, but on nineteen minutes the visitors broke the deadlock.

From very little down the left, Adam Carroll swung in a cross to the back post, but as Sean O'Neill hesitated in coming out and Nelson failed to track his man, Adam Salley eased in to power a header home.

Chances were few and far between after the opening goal as both sides struggled to build up attacks, but again it was the Braidmen with the next couple of half chances. Rocks, not for the first time, won the ball high up the pitch and found Fraser Taylor, but he struck well wide, before John McGuigan broke from a Newry corner and fed McMurray, who dragged an effort wide.

Heading into the final stages of the half, Newry started to gain momentum as again Ballymena failed to create much that was meaningful, and it was almost 2-0 when the ball dropped to Daniel Hughes on the edge of the box, but he saw a stinging shot destined for the bottom corner wonderfully saved onto the post by O'Neill, as another disappointing half at home saw United trail.

After a slow start to the second half for both sides, on fifty-three minutes Ballymena's day went from bad to worse when they were reduced to ten men. Corrie Burns, who had picked up a booking late in the first half, got in a tangle with Carroll down the left wing and brought down his man, to see a red card shown by Ian McNabb.

Jim Ervin had been readying a much needed double change to the forward line before the sending off, and decided to press ahead with it as Michael Place and Westendorf replaced McGuigan and McMurray, but with the hosts miles off it they found it hard to make an impact in the short term anyway.

After the hour mark, Salley sent a free kick straight at O'Neill in what had been really the first chance of a poor half, but on sixty-eight minutes, United almost levelled. Rocks, now on the wing, crossed from one side of the box to the other for Nelson, who drilled a shot which was turned goalwards by Westendorf, but it prompted a fantastic stop out of Maguire, who seconds later saw his side also reduced to ten men. City hadn't been short of hefty tackles and yellow cards all afternoon, and it was no real surprise when they were reduced to ten when Ryan McGivern, already on a caution, pulled back Westendorf just outside the box.

The sending off seemed to finally bring Ballymena to some life with the numbers levelled up again, and from the resulting free kick Colin Coates sent a diving header wide, before a Westendorf header was easily saved. Nine minutes from time a great chance passed the Sky Blues by when Dylan Boyle crossed for Westendorf, but after he brought it down, he fired over, and two minutes later a rare Newry break resulted in a second goal to bring more misery to the home stand. Lee Newell got on the end of a long ball down the left and after getting into the box, what seemed a fairly hopeful effort ended up in the far bottom corner after taking a nick off Coates to put it out of O'Neill's reach.

With United failing to ever really get going all day, there was to be no way back on yet another disappointing day in performance and result for the hosts, who continue to struggle to create and remain rooted to the bottom of the pile.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at October 7th, 2023)

2023-2024 All Time
Sean O'Neill (GK)35 12 - 75 -
Corrie Burns20 4 - 4 -
Colin Coates37 9393
Steven McCullough29 11 - 2208
Scot Whiteside26 13 - 1111
Dylan Boyle21 4 - 4 -
John McGuigan30 12 - 12 -
Kym Nelson28 13 - 685
Donal Rocks23 7 - 7 -
Fraser Taylor20 11 - 11 -
Jonathan McMurray29 12311035
Michael Place (sub)25 10 - 706
Fiontan O'Boyle (sub)19 111111
Noah Stewart (sub)19 3131
Isaac Westendorf (sub)22 5252

League Table (as at October 7th, 2023)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 11 9 1 1 28
2. Cliftonville 11 7 2 2 23
3. Larne 11 6 4 1 22
4. Crusaders 11 6 3 2 21
5. Glentoran 11 5 2 4 17
6. Coleraine 11 5 2 4 17
7. Loughgall 11 4 3 4 15
8. Carrick 11 4 1 6 13
9. Newry 11 3 1 7 10
10. Dungannon 11 1 4 6 7
11. Glenavon 11 2 1 8 7
12. BALLYMENA 11 2 0 9 6