3 - 0
3 - 0
County Antrim Shield (Round 1)
Davitt Walsh (29)
Neil Teggart (62)
Neil Teggart (64)
Liam Hogan for Gavin Melaugh (28)
Aidan Watson for Peter Kennedy (70)
Gavin McDonnell for Gary Haveron (82)
Ricky Higgins for Eddie Hill (76)
Andrew Forsythe for David Freyne (82)
Darren McKay for Mark Craig (76)
Brian Turkington (Belfast) (Referee)
BALLYMENA United finally got their season under-way with a comfortable win over neighbours Ballyclare Comrades in the County Antrim Shield first round.
This low-key encounter was Roy Walker's first in charge at the Braid, and the former Crusaders and Glenavon boss gave full debuts to Alan Blayney, Joe McDonnell, Michael McGinlay, Peter Kennedy and Neil Teggart.
The home side were in complete control throughout, however failed to create many clearcut chances until the 20 minute mark when Joe McDonnell's header sailed over the bar, and soon after fellow debutant Neil Teggart seen his headed effort also glance over.
The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute by Davitt Walsh, who had the honour of scoring Ballymena's first competitive goal of the new season. A long ball forward was flicked on by Kennedy into the path of Walsh, who coolly rushed in to slide the ball under Ian Mannus from 12 yards.
Michael McGinlay then was next to try his luck three minutes later when he rifled an effort which forced the Comrades' goalkeeper into a finger-tip save to force the goalbound effort over the crossbar.
Jamesy Kirk's Championship side nearly found their way back into the game with their first real chance of the match, when Michael Smith's cross come shot deceived Alan Blayney and came back off the inside of the United post, but was scrambled to safety.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first, although there was a lack of match sharpness from the Warden Street outfit, understandably as it was their first game in 17 days, due to a number of factors.
Lively striker, Neil Teggart, came close ten minutes into the second period when he turned well in the penalty and forced a smart save out of the visiting goalkeeper.
On 62 minutes; it was the former Sunderland striker again who doubled the Premiership side's lead in this Shield encounter, as after good work by the impressive Kennedy and McGinlay he received the ball with his back to goal and hit an audacious back-heeled attempt from 10 yards which gave the 'keeper no chance.
Two minutes later Teggart doubled his tally in his first appearance, and put the game well beyond the reach of the Dixon Park side. He was put through as he easily outpaced the defender and calmly slotted in United's third goal of the evening.
Walker also gave first appearances from the bench to defenders Liam Hogan and Gavin McDonnell, as the focus quickly turns to the IFA Premiership opener against Cliftonville on Saturday.
Ballymena United will play Shield holders Glentoran in the quarter-finals at the Oval on 9th September, the East-Belfast side comfortably defeat Newington YC in their First Round tie.
Match report written by Official Ballymena United website
|Alan Blayney (GK)||26||1||-||1||-|
|Liam Hogan (sub)||20||1||-||1||-|
|Gavin McDonnell (sub)||30||1||-||1||-|
|Aidan Watson (sub)||22||1||-||74||3|