2 - 2
League (IFA Premiership)
Stephen Garrett (8)
Richard Clarke (89)
Neil Teggart (21)
Gary Haveron (81)
Tony Anderson for Steven Ferguson (54)
Kevin Keegan for Lee Feeney (61)
Kyle Moran for Chris Morgan (78)
|Cullen Feeney (79)||
Davitt Walsh (31)
Gavin McDonnell (60)
Trevor Mountray (Dundonald) (Referee)
A LATE equaliser prevented Ballymena United taking all three points from their IFA Premiership clash with Newry City at the Marshes.
Gavin McDonnell and Davitt Walsh stepped up from the bench as Roy Walker's side looked to bounce back from the humiliating defeat at the hands of Cliftonville on Saturday in the opening league game.
However, the visitors found themselves chasing the game after only eight minutes as a goal from Stephen Garrett gave Ballymena the worst possible start.
Poor defending from Gavin McDonnell allowed the former-Linfield striker, Garrett, to nip in and slide the ball under Alan Blayney to give the home side the early lead.
The Braidmen responded well and found an equaliser from in-form Neil Teggart on 21 minutes. Gary Haveron fed through the big striker down the left flank and he cut in on the edge of the box and planted an unstoppable shot past Paul Murphy in the Newry goal.
This was Teggart's fourth goal of the season, in only three games; this also kept up his outstanding record of scoring in every game he has played for Ballymena United which now stands at 10 goals in eight games, including pre-season.
A barrage of excellent corners from the rejuvinated Stuart King nearly forced Ballymena into the lead five minutes before the break. United captain Albert Watson rattled the base of the post with a downward header and Davitt Walsh could only direct the rebound wide.
Ballymena United's dominance either side of the half-time whistle was nearly undone on the hour mark when Garrett rounded goalkeeper Alan Blayney but couldn't finish. Meanwhile, Joe McDonnell dragged a good effort wide from a Peter Kennedy cross.
Stuart King turned provider again with another dead-ball as his corner as Gary Haveron out-jumped former team-mate Paul Murphy to head the Sky Blues in front with nine minutes left.
However, just as it looked like Roy Walker's side were going to hold on for the win, Newry captain Richard Clarke struck a superb equaliser with one minute of normal time remaining at the border venue.
Ross Black's deep corner was headed across goal by Michael Collins and the highly-rated Clarke controlled on the chest and struck the ball sweetly into the top corner giving Blayney no chance as the home side salvaged a point.
"It was a cruel ending but from Saturday, the pleasing thing was the response and I was very heartened by that," said Walker.
"The players have taken a bit on the chin â€“ there were a few home truths put to a few people after Saturday - and I couldn't fault their effort or commitment.
"But you have to play with the same verve, commitment and passion every week. I personally don't know any other way to be and I expect that to rub off on the team."
Match report written by Official Ballymena United website
|Alan Blayney (GK)||26||3||-||3||-|