Ballymena United 3
Coleraine 1
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
3 - 1

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, October 21st, 2023
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,642
3:00 PM Kick-off

Noah Stewart (47)
Noah Stewart (53)
Alex Gawne (90)
Joshua Carson (65) (pen.)

Team Managers
Jim Ervin
Oran Kearney

Starting Eleven
1. Sean O'Neill
5. Scot Whiteside
11. Steven McCullough
28. Dylan Boyle
30. Michael Place
17. Andrew McGrory
16. Fraser Taylor
2. Kym Nelson
21. Lewis Tennant
37. Isaac Westendorf
33. Noah Stewart
Gareth Deane .1
Lyndon Kane .2
Dean Jarvis .3
Graham Kelly .5
Conor McKendry .7
Matthew Shevlin .9
Joshua Carson .11
Kieran Farren .14
Lee Lynch .16
Jamie Glackin .17
Andrew Scott .29

26. Sam Johnston
20. TJ Murray
4. Donal Rocks
14. John McGuigan
15. Fiontan O'Boyle
7. Alex Gawne
10. Ryan Waide
Martin Gallagher .12
Aaron Jarvis .6
David McDaid .10
Jack O'Mahony .21
Andrew Mitchell .22
Lee Wallace .23
Lee McLaughlin .28

Donal Rocks for Michael Place (58)
Alex Gawne for Andrew McGrory (87)
Ryan Waide for Noah Stewart (87)
John McGuigan for Fraser Taylor (90)
Fiontan O'Boyle for Isaac Westendorf (90)
Jack O'Mahony for Kieran Farren (75)
David McDaid for Lee Lynch (76)
Andrew Mitchell for Andrew Scott (86)

Michael Place (44)
Scot Whiteside (64)
Kym Nelson (69)
Isaac Westendorf (71)
Donal Rocks (90)
Jamie Glackin (81)

Red Cards
None. Matthew Shevlin (30)
Match Officials

Lee Tavinder (Referee)
Paul Robinson & Shane Geary (Assistants)
Shane McGonigle (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United finally have their first home points of the season after a fantastic showing gave them a 3-1 derby victory over ten-man Coleraine at The Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.

After a decent performance at Seaview last Friday night was rewarded with no points, Jim Ervin made just the one change, and it was of course an enforced one as skipper Colin Coates dropped out ahead of a spell on the sidelines, with Kym Nelson back to take his place.

Looking to end a wretched home record to start the season in the second derby meeting of the season, it was United who impressed slightly more in the opening half hour or so, yet despite that Coleraine should've been ahead inside five minutes. A misplaced back pass from Fraser Taylor landed at the feet of Jamie Glackin who had time and space to pick a spot as he ran in on Sean O'Neill's goal, but he tried to be too precise and ended up slotting the ball wide. After that huge let off for Ballymena, ten minutes later Coleraine looked to be in again through Andy Scott, but a stellar interception from Scot Whiteside prevented the chance.

Aside from those two openings, the Braidmen were enjoying a fair deal of the ball, but despite the best efforts of the wonderfully chaotic Isaac Westendorf, again the hosts struggled to turn possession into good chances. However, on the half hour mark Ballymena's chances of finally getting points on the board on Warden Street were given a big boost as the Bannsiders were reduced to ten men. Matthew Shevlin tried to get on the end of a free kick but failed, and as he tried at the second attempt his high studs caught O'Neill in the chest, resulting in referee Lee Tavinder showing the former Ballymena man a straight red card for dangerous play.

Despite the man advantage, Ballymena continued to be frustrated in their attempts to properly work Gareth Deane, and before the end of the half another chance would come the visitor's way when Dean Jarvis stung the palms of O'Neill, as a decent half, that was fine from United until the final third, ended scoreless.

Backed by a large and vocal home support, Jim Ervin would've hoped his side could start creating in the second half, and just three minutes in they did more than just threaten when Noah Stewart put the hosts in front. Unsurprisingly, Westendorf and Taylor were involved for the Sky Blues as the former held the ball up fantastically well before finding Taylor. From just outside the D, the Scotsman put a lovely through ball into the feet of Noah Stewart, and the teenager showed terrific composure to set himself and fire into the bottom corner.

Buoyed on by the opener, just five minutes later the Braidmen and Noah Stewart had a second goal. A long clearance from United's box looked fairly mundane until Westendorf pounced on a mix up at the back between Lyndon Kane and Josh Carson, and surged clear one on one for a goal he'd have fully deserved, but he weakly struck straight at Deane. The ball fell to Taylor who saw a shot blocked, but when it finally arrived at the feet of Stewart, he supplied the coldest of finishes across the goal to double the advantage.

Following the quickfire brace, the side's traded half chances as Carson fired straight at O'Neill from distance and Mikey Place dragged an effort wide, before he was replaced by Donal Rocks, who played a role in a big couple of moments. On sixty-four minutes, when Westendorf forced a mistake out of Deane outside of his box, Rocks tried his luck at an empty goal from halfway inside the Coleraine half, but struck wide, and less than a minute later the ten men had a questionable penalty. As Jamie Glackin drove forward, captain Whiteside slid to bring him down outside the box, but to the amazement of those in Sky Blue, Lee Tavinder judged the contact to be inside the box and pointed to the spot. After United's appeals fell on deaf ears, Joshua Carson stepped up and emphatically hammered the spot kick home to half the deficit, and following the goal Coleraine came at the home side.

As Coleraine's pressure came for the first time all afternoon, Glackin forced a great save out of O'Neill, before Conor McKendry fired wide and Carson again tested the 'keeper but bar that Ballymena's back line stood more than firm.

With three minutes to go McGrory and Stewart, the hero of the day, made way for the returning Ryan Waide, and Alex Gawne, and inside six minutes of added time, the former Bannsider Gawne put the icing on the cake with a stunning third. Westendorf flicked on an O'Neill goal kick to put Waide in, but he was denied by a good block. The ball came to Rocks who picked out Alex Gawne at the far side of the box, and he fired a rocket into the roof of the Coleraine net to secure a massive win for United, who delivered their first points at home this season with a top display that lifts them off the bottom of the table for the first time since August.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at October 21st, 2023)

2023-2024 All Time
Sean O'Neill (GK)35 14 - 77 -
Scot Whiteside26 15 - 1131
Steven McCullough29 13 - 2228
Andrew McGrory31 5 - 14625
Kym Nelson28 14 - 695
Dylan Boyle21 6 - 6 -
Fraser Taylor20 13 - 13 -
Lewis Tennant19 8 - 9 -
Michael Place25 12 - 726
Isaac Westendorf22 7272
Noah Stewart19 5353
John McGuigan (sub)30 13 - 13 -
Donal Rocks (sub)23 8 - 8 -
Ryan Waide (sub)23 9112516
Fiontan O'Boyle (sub)19 131131
Alex Gawne (sub)22 102102

League Table (as at October 21st, 2023)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 13 11 1 1 34
2. Crusaders 13 8 3 2 27
3. Cliftonville 13 8 2 3 26
4. Larne 13 7 5 1 26
5. Glentoran 13 7 2 4 23
6. Coleraine 13 6 2 5 20
7. Loughgall 13 5 3 5 18
8. Carrick 13 4 1 8 13
9. Newry 13 3 1 9 10
10. BALLYMENA 13 3 0 10 9
11. Dungannon 13 1 5 7 8
12. Glenavon 13 2 1 10 7