Ards 4
Ballymena United 2
League (NIFL Premiership)


4 - 2

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, December 31st, 2016
Clandeboye Park
Attendance: 644
2:00 PM Kick-off

Carl McComb (25)
Kyle Cherry (46)
Emmet Friars (79)
Gary Liggett (84)
Aaron Hogg (o.g.) (9)
Jonathan McMurray (42)

Team Managers
Colin Nixon David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
18. Aaron Hogg
2. Greg Hall
3. Michael Ruddy
5. Jonathan Taylor
7. Craig McMillen
11. David McAllister
16. Gareth Tommons
17. Carl McComb
19. Guillaume Keke
20. Kyle Cherry
25. Emmet Friars
Ross Glendinning .1
Jim Ervin .21
Tony Kane .2
Kyle Owens .4
Adam McCracken .39
Allan Jenkins .10
Leroy Millar .23
William Faulkner .12
Francis McCaffrey .29
Jonathan McMurray .27
Cathair Friel .14

4. Stuart McMullan
8. Ross Arthurs
9. Gary Liggett
12. Jordan Hughes
14. Francis Brennan
Alan Blayney .18
Caolan Loughran .34
Gavin Taggart .8
Eoin Kane .15
Darren Henderson .9

Ross Arthurs for Carl McComb (90)
Gary Liggett for Guillaume Keke (66)
Gavin Taggart for Allan Jenkins (74)
Eoin Kane for William Faulkner (74)
Darren Henderson for Adam McCracken (82)

Emmet Friars (59) None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Evan Boyce (Referee)
Stephen Bell & Stephen Donaldson (Assistants)
Peter McGrath (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United suffered a 4-2 defeat to Ards at the Bangor Fuels Arena in another high scoring meeting between the clubs.

Ballymena started the game far better as Ards struggled to get going, and Fra McCaffrey called Aaron Hogg into action just 4 minutes in, but the Ards stopper saved easily. The same couldn't be said after 11 minutes when Aaron Hogg's own goal gave United the lead. Good play down the left saw the ball fall to Willie Faulkner, who hit the post from the edge of the box, but the fall rebounded towards Hogg who could only bundle the ball over his own line.

Ards' first chance of note came 18 minutes in when ex- United man Michael Ruddy had a go from outside the box, but Ross Glendinning easily gathered. The home side went close again not long after when a David McAllister cross found Emmet Friars unmarked at the back post, but Glendinning came out well to smother the chance.

On 28 minutes, Ards found an equaliser courtesy of Carl McComb. Craig McMillen swung a cross in from the right and McComb out-jumped Jim Ervin to head home the leveller past a diving Glendinning.

Ballymena went in search of the lead again and a corner from Leroy Millar just missed the head of Tony Kane and then Kyle Owens with only a touch needed for the ball to hit the back of the net. However on 43 minutes, the Sky Blues did regain the lead through Jonathan McMurray. Faulkner was again involved, playing in McMurray who eventually got the ball under control and dispatched a finish by Hogg at his near post.

United failed to ever really get into the second half with lacklustre football as Ards were the far brighter side right from the off. Inside the first minute of the restart, Ards levelled for a second time. A throw in started a neat move and the ball came to Kyle Cherry who placed the ball just out of Glendinning's reach to give Ards the ideal start.

The game was almost completely turned around shortly after as Ards forward Keke ran clear but could only find the side netting with his effort. Ballymena's only real chances at the start of the half came from long range efforts from Faulkner and Cathair Friel, but neither shots caused Hogg any issues. With 20 minutes left, Ards went close to leading when Gareth Tommons popped up in the box with a header, but he sent it just wide of the United goal.

David Jeffrey made a double switch to try and ignite Ballymena, with Eoin Kane and Gavin Taggart being introduced, and Kane instantly made an impact as United hit the bar in an odd fashion. A cross from Eoin Kane was deflected into the air before the ball dropped onto the bar when Hogg had anticipated the ball going over the bar. With 10 minutes left, Ards took the lead for the first time. A corner was sent to the back post and Ards skipper Emmet Friars turned it home on the line.

Things could've and should've got worse for United 3 minutes later when substitute Gary Liggett was put through on goal but only managed to hit the woodwork. The ball then rebounded to McComb who had virtually an open goal, but he somehow put his effort wide.

However the home side did put the game to bed after 84 minutes. McCaffrey couldn't quite get a touch on an Eoin Kane cross for United and straight up the other end a long ball put former United man Gary Liggett through, who made no mistake in giving Ards a 4-2 lead with a cool finish. The final 5 minutes yielded no chances as Ballymena ended a good 2016 on a sour note.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at December 31st, 2016)

2016-2017 All Time
Ross Glendinning (GK)23 16 - 16 -
Jim Ervin31 29 - 1072
Kyle Owens24 284284
Adam McCracken18 7 - 7 -
Tony Kane29 281421726
Leroy Millar21 221402
Francis McCaffrey23 103103
Allan Jenkins35 28523348
William Faulkner26 2545810
Jonathan McMurray22 23102310
Cathair Friel23 29172917
Gavin Taggart (sub)32 6 - 1816
Eoin Kane (sub)20 11 - 452
Darren Henderson (sub)30 8110226

League Table (as at December 31st, 2016)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 23 16 5 2 31 53
2. Linfield 23 14 7 2 36 49
3. Cliftonville 23 14 3 6 14 45
4. BALLYMENA UTD 23 12 3 8 1 39
5. Coleraine 23 9 7 7 6 34
6. Glenavon 22 7 9 6 0 30
7. Dungannon Swifts 23 8 7 8 7 31
8. Ards 23 7 5 11 -5 26
9. Glentoran 23 6 7 10 -11 25
10. Ballinamallard Utd 22 5 3 14 -21 18
11. Carrick Rangers 23 3 4 16 -34 13
12. Portadown 23 5 2 16 -24 5

* - Table split into two divisions of six.