Loughgall 5
Ballymena United 2
League (NIFL Premiership)


5 - 2

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, November 4th, 2023
Lakeview Park
Attendance: 498
3:00 PM Kick-off

Benjamin Magee (27)
Jay Boyd (30)
Benjamin Magee (32)
James Carroll (47)
Mark Patton (73)
Ryan Waide (15)
Ryan Waide (54)

Team Managers
Dean Smith Jim Ervin

Starting Eleven
1. Berraat Turker
4. Ben Murdock
6. Tiernan Kelly
7. Pablo Andrade
8. Alan Teggart
10. Andrew Hoey
14. Mark Patton
15. Luke Cartwright
19. James Carroll
21. Benjamin Magee
22. Jay Boyd
Sean O'Neill .1
Scot Whiteside .5
Steven McCullough .11
Kym Nelson .2
Lewis Tennant .21
Dylan Boyle .28
Donal Rocks .4
Andrew McGrory .17
Fraser Taylor .16
Ryan Waide .10
Noah Stewart .33

20. Daniel Devine
3. Jamie Rea
5. Oran Brogan
9. Nathaniel Ferris
11. Caolan McAleer
13. Jordan Gibson
23. Caolan Loughran
Sam Johnston .26
TJ Murray .20
Corrie Burns .3
John McGuigan .14
Michael Place .30
Fiontan O'Boyle .15
Alex Gawne .7

Caolan Loughran for Luke Cartwright (52)
Jordan Gibson for Andrew Hoey (70)
Nathaniel Ferris for Jay Boyd (70)
Oran Brogan for Alan Teggart (80)
Caolan McAleer for Benjamin Magee (80)
Corrie Burns for Lewis Tennant (46)
Alex Gawne for Noah Stewart (71)
John McGuigan for Fraser Taylor (71)
Michael Place for Andrew McGrory (71)
Fiontan O'Boyle for Donal Rocks (85)

Andrew Hoey (53)
Jay Boyd (68)
Tiernan Kelly (90)
Kym Nelson (22)
Dylan Boyle (90)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Raymond Crangle (Referee)
Stephen Donaldson & Brian Wilson (Assistants)
Mark Dillon (Fourth Official)

Match Report

The concession of three goals in five first half minutes contributed to a below par Ballymena United losing out 5-2 to Loughgall in a poor showing at Lakeview Park on Saturday afternoon.

For United's first league visit to Loughgall in nearly seventeen years, Jim Ervin made three changes to the side that drew with Dungannon a week ago, as Scot Whiteside and Kym Nelson returned to the back line, and Ryan Waide took Isaac Westendorf's place up front.

On a surface that seemed to be holding up well in Co Armagh, given the barrage of rain in recent days, Ballymena started the better and a quarter of an hour in they broke the deadlock with a well taken goal. Donal Rocks hammered a ball down the right flank that at first seemed to be travelling out for a goal kick, but Noah Stewart refused to give up on it and after racing onto the ball, he cut it back into the box for Ryan Waide, who timed his run well to sweep the ball home with a first-time finish.

A minute or two after the visitors opener, the high-flying Villagers began to get into the swing of things, and after Tiernan Kelly had struck over, Loughgall hit Ballymena with a barrage of three goals in five minutes to take control of the game and then some. It started on twenty-seven minutes, when Jay Boyd's cross from the right was missed by Lewis Tennant as he went to cut it out, allowing the ball to fall to the inform Benji Magee, who easily finished past Sean O'Neill from close range.

Three minutes later a quickfire turnaround was completed by the hosts. Andrew Hoey had space outside the box to rifle a shot that cannoned off the post, but Jay Boyd was alert to the rebound to produce a composed finish as he guided the ball under the crossbar. Then, just two minutes after the second, United were left shellshocked as they conceded for the third time in five minutes. On the edge of the box, Benji Magee danced around several United defenders with far too much ease, and after toying with them for long enough, he saw a strike deflect off Nelson to wrongfoot O'Neill and go in.

By the thirty-fifth minute, and with the wheels well and truly fallen off, Ballymena had O'Neill to thank for keeping the deficit at two as Loughgall almost netted again. Magee again waltzed through a stuttering back line with ease before the ball fell to Boyd who really should've scored, but he didn't quite catch his effort, allowing O'Neill to make the save.

At the start of the second half Corrie Burns replaced Tennant, but if a sizeable travelling support had hoped the break had halted the Braidmen's collapse, they were wrong as Dean Smith's men grabbed a fourth two minutes after the restart. Mark Patton delivered an inviting corner from the right over the top of those in the box to the back post, and there James Carroll rose higher above Whiteside to nod home.

Ballymena were going to need some help to get back into it, and they got just that on fifty-four minutes when a mistake from substitute Caolan Loughran led to a sixth goal in a manic game. Loughran's heavy touch deep inside his own half was pounced on by Fraser Taylor and Waide, and when the ball came into the path of the latter, Ryan Waide raced in and tidily finished for his second of the afternoon.

Just after the hour mark Magee almost helped himself to another hattrick this season, only to be denied by a super O'Neill stop, but following that chance the encounter calmed down with United simply offering nothing against their far superior hosts. A triple change saw Mikey Place, Alex Gawne and John McGuigan introduced to try and get something going, but two minutes later Ballymena's misery was compounded by a fifth Loughgall goal. Magee burst clear and rounded O'Neill, but with the angle too tight to shoot, he passed the ball off to Jordan Gibson who found Pablo Andrade, and his pass across the box was met by Mark Patton, who slammed home a fabulous fifth.

In the final ten minutes Steven McCullough put a free kick just over, whilst Gibson went close to netting against his former side, but the game was long up for Ballymena who were miles off any sort of level capable of taking points back up the road, in a day to forget all round.

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

Squad Statistics (as at November 4th, 2023)

2023-2024 All Time
Sean O'Neill (GK)35 16 - 79 -
Scot Whiteside26 16 - 1141
Steven McCullough29 15 - 2248
Andrew McGrory31 7 - 14825
Kym Nelson28 15 - 705
Dylan Boyle21 8 - 8 -
Fraser Taylor20 15 - 15 -
Lewis Tennant19 10 - 11 -
Donal Rocks23 10 - 10 -
Ryan Waide23 11312718
Noah Stewart19 7373
Corrie Burns (sub)20 6 - 6 -
John McGuigan (sub)30 14 - 14 -
Michael Place (sub)25 14 - 746
Fiontan O'Boyle (sub)19 151151
Alex Gawne (sub)22 122122

League Table (as at November 4th, 2023)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 15 13 1 1 40
2. Larne 15 9 5 1 32
3. Cliftonville 15 9 2 4 29
4. Crusaders 15 8 4 3 28
5. Glentoran 15 7 3 5 24
6. Coleraine 15 7 2 6 23
7. Loughgall 15 6 3 6 21
8. Carrick 15 5 1 9 16
9. Glenavon 15 4 1 10 13
10. BALLYMENA 15 3 1 11 10
11. Newry 15 3 1 11 10
12. Dungannon 15 1 6 8 9