Glentoran 5
Ballymena United 0
League (NIFL Premiership)


Glentoran 

5 - 0

Ballymena United


League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, November 18th, 2023
The Oval
Attendance: 2,130
3:00 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Aidan Wilson (23)
Junior (26)
Junior (29)
James Singleton (36)
David Fisher (50)
None.

Team Managers
Warren Feeney Jim Ervin

Starting Eleven
1. Aaron McCarey
5. Aidan Wilson
9. Jay Donnelly
11. Daire O'Connor
12. James Singleton
15. Fuad Sule
17. Cameron Palmer
19. Daniel Fisher
22. Patrick McClean
28. Jonathan Russell
38. Niall McGinn
Sean O'Neill .1
Scot Whiteside .5
Corrie Burns .3
Steven McCullough .11
Donal Rocks .4
Fraser Taylor .16
Dylan Boyle .28
Michael Place .30
Alex Gawne .7
Ryan Waide .10
Isaac Westendorf .37

Bench
25. OIiver Webber
7. Shay McCartan
10. Rory Donnelly
14. Sean Murray
20. Joshua Kelly
29. Aaron Wightman
40. Junior
Sam Johnston .26
TJ Murray .20
Caleb Crawford .22
Andrew McGrory .17
John McGuigan .14
Marc Walsh .19
Noah Stewart .33

Substitutions
Junior for Jay Donnelly (19)
Joshua Kelly for Fuad Sule (57)
Aaron Wightman for Aidan Wilson (57)
Shay McCartan for Cameron Palmer (70)
Rory Donnelly for David Fisher (70)
Noah Stewart for Isaac Westendorf (28)
Andrew McGrory for Michael Place (53)

Cautions
None. Scot Whiteside (45)
Donal Rocks (60)
Steven McCullough (61)
Dylan Boyle (71)
Corrie Burns (77)

Red Cards
None. Donal Rocks (65)

Match Officials



Match Report


10-man Ballymena United had yet another day to forget this season as another first half collapse contributed to a heavy 5-0 defeat by Glentoran at The Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Despite a well below par showing in the defeat to Glenavon a week ago, Jim Ervin stuck with the same starting XI for the trip to the capital, as United looked to pick up their first points on the road to a top six team this season.

However, those hopes were extinguished by the half hour mark in a frankly awful first half showing for those in Ballymena black. That said, it was a fairly quiet start to proceedings in an opening twenty minutes that greatly lacked any quality, as both sides looked high and long more often than not. Possession wise it was all Glentoran, but their only half decent chance in those first twenty minutes came when Niall McGinn drove from halfway into the box uncontested, before finding Jay Donnelly who got a good save out of Sean O'Neill.

On twenty-three minutes, a string of Glens corners finally led to the game's opening goal, and it marked the start of an all too familiar capitulation from Ballymena. Daire O'Connor swung an inviting corner into the heart of United's six-yard box and it was met by Aidan Wilson, who easily headed home.

Straight after the opener came the Braidmen's first effort on goal when Isaac Westendorf teed up Fraser Taylor, who struck straight at Aaron McCarey, but three minutes after the first goal, Glentoran had a second. A Fuad Sule cross from the left found Cammy Palmer who laid it off for Junior, and the substitute who had replaced Donnelly early on drilled a fine shot into the bottom corner.

As if the day out in East Belfast hadn't been going well enough already, Westendorf was forced off after Junior's goal, replaced by Noah Stewart, but a minute later the hosts had their third goal in six minutes. United, arguably asleep all half, certainly were for a quick free kick by Palmer who crossed for David Fisher, and he nodded the ball across goal for Junior who finished from a tight angle.

It was almost four not long after when Fisher got in on goal, but Sean O'Neill, probably the only player to take ant credit from the game, saved well, but from the resulting corner it was 4-0 with just thirty-six minutes gone. Ballymena, who were barely competing by this point, were again done from a corner when O'Neill could only punch clear to the edge of the box, and when O'Connor drilled the ball back into the box it fell to James Singleton who converted into the top corner.

Towards the end of the half O'Neill made another couple of stops before doing well to deny Junior a hattrick with an unorthodox save in added time, as the curtain came down on a half of football that was simply unacceptable for those in the away end.

A first half collapse a fortnight ago in Loughgall was compounded by conceding again a minute into the second half, but this around the Sky Blues managed to hold out for four minutes after the restart. The Glens attacked through the middle with little to no pressure on them, and when McGinn found Fisher just outside the box, he unleashed a fine strike, that perhaps took a nick of Scot Whiteside, to fly past O'Neill and in.

Following number five, the home side seemed to take their foot of the gas a bit, allowing the visitors to venture into their half every once in a while, including a free kick from Steven McCullough that was turned wide at the back post by Whiteside.

Former United skipper Josh Kelly was a second half sub for Glentoran and almost added a sixth in style when he had a pop from a short free kick twenty-five yards out, but again Ballymena had O'Neill to thank with a stunning save.

As frustrations started to build, Ballymena's bookings began to total up before two yellows in five minutes saw Donal Rocks see red after silly fouls on Fisher.

In the final ten minutes Ballymena finally showed up in some capacity as they created a few late chances. McCullough forced a save out of McCarey from a free kick, before sending another over, whilst Taylor struck wide after a positive run and Stewart saw a shot got wide by inches.

Late, late on Rory Donnelly should've added his name to the scoresheet as he turned over from a couple of yards, but thankfully the final whistle finally came on a dismal day all round, with real concerns over the margin of defeat, and manner of display.

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



Squad Statistics (as at November 18th, 2023)


2023-2024 All Time
Age
Sean O'Neill (GK)35 18 - 81 -
Steven McCullough29 18 - 2278
Scot Whiteside26 1911172
Corrie Burns20 9 - 9 -
Donal Rocks23 13 - 13 -
Dylan Boyle21 11 - 11 -
Fraser Taylor20 18 - 18 -
Michael Place25 17 - 776
Ryan Waide23 14313018
Alex Gawne22 152152
Isaac Westendorf22 113113
Andrew McGrory (sub)31 9 - 15025
Noah Stewart (sub)19 103103



League Table (as at November 18th, 2023)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 16 13 1 2 40
2. Larne 17 11 5 1 38
3. Cliftonville 16 10 2 4 32
4. Crusaders 16 9 4 3 31
5. Glentoran 17 8 4 5 28
6. Coleraine 17 7 3 7 24
7. Loughgall 17 6 3 8 21
8. Glenavon 17 6 1 10 19
9. Carrick 16 6 1 9 19
10. Dungannon 17 2 6 9 12
11. BALLYMENA 17 3 1 13 10
12. Newry 17 3 1 13 10