Ballymena United 1
Glentoran 3
League Cup (Round 3 - Leg 1)

Ballymena United
1 - 3

League Cup (Round 3 - Leg 1)
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Ballymena Showgrounds
7:45 PM Kick-off

Paul McNeill (89)
Grant Gardiner (11)
Darren Boyce (24)
Darren Boyce (47)

Team Managers
Roy Walker
Alan McDonald

Starting Eleven
Alan Blayney
Albert Watson
Lee Colligan
Aaron Stewart
Joe McDonnell
Aidan Watson
Gavin Melaugh
Mark Picking
Stuart King
Kevin Kelbie
Michael Ward
Elliott Morris
Jason Hill
Paul Leeman
Shane McCabe
Sean Ward
Daryl Fordyce
Michael Halliday
Andrew Waterworth
Darren Boyce
Grant Gardiner
Jaimie McGovern

Christopher Getty
Liam Mullan
Ryan Deans
David Cushley
Paul McNeill
Kyle Neill
Gary Hamilton
Ryan Berry
James Taylor
Jonathan Taylor

Christopher Getty for Albert Watson (45)
Paul McNeill for Michael Ward (72)
Ryan Deans for Gavin Melaugh (74)
Ryan Berry for Michael Halliday (76)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Paddy McFadden (Londonderry) (Referee)

Match Report

BALLYMENA United manager Roy Walker has conceded that his side faces an uphill struggle to stay in the Co-operative Insurance Cup after defeat in Wednesday night's first leg.

The Sky Blues will travel to the Oval next Tuesday trailing by two goals, despite a late strike by substitute Paul McNeill and they could also be without defender Albert Watson, who was stretchered off with a serious-looking ankle injury.

"We were back to the bad habits of earlier in the season with the goals we gave away," said Walker.

We need to learn to be bold and get up and defend on the halfway line because the gap between defenders and midfield was too great. It left a gaping hole and Glentoran have clever players who could exploit that.

The upside is that we kept plugging away but the game changes on wee things, like when Kevin Kelbie missed a great chance to make it 1-1 - an open goal - and Glentoran went straight up and made it 2-0," added Walker.

Glentoran took an 11th minute lead when Gardiner slotted a free kick through a gap in the United wall after Shane McCabe had been brought down just outside the penalty area.

Ballymena should have equalised on 22 minutes when Glens keeper Elliott Morris' scuffed clearance from outside the area fell to Michael Ward but when he teed up strike partner Kevin Kelbie, the Scot's attempted chip sailed agonisingly wide of an unguarded net.

That proved a costly miss as within 90 seconds, the visitors had doubled their advantage.

Albert Watson's attempted back header fell well short of its target and Boyce enjoyed a fortuitous ricochet off advancing keeper Alan Blayney before stepping past the United stopper and rolling the ball home.

Ballymena's problems intensified just before the interval when they lost defender Albert Watson, stretchered off with an ankle injury following a challenge by Gardiner.

"Albert had a bit of swelling and numbness around the ankle and he went to hospital for a precautionary x-ray.

"The lad (Grant Gardiner) won the ball in the tackle but it was his trailing leg which caught Albert.

The game was over as a contest two minutes after the restart when a long through ball caught the Ballymena defence square and after Lee Colligan appeared to bring down Daryl Fordyce, referee Paddy McFadden played the advantage as the ball broke to Boyce to stroke home his side's third.

United kept pressing and were rewarded in the 89th minute when Mark Picking's deflected shot was touched onto the post by Elliott Morris and substitute Paul McNeill was on hand to fire home the loose ball.

It was local lad McNeill's first appearance this season, while Walker also gave Ryan Deans, last season's Youth Team Player of the Year, his debut as a 74th minute sub.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

Squad Statistics (as at October 29th, 2008)

2008-2009 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)27 11 - 11 -
Albert Watson23 16 - 2268
Aaron Stewart18 7 - 7 -
Lee Colligan19 5 - 7 -
Joe McDonnell21 10 - 10 -
Gavin Melaugh27 13 - 534
Aidan Watson22 12 - 853
Mark Picking32 8 - 7911
Stuart King27 12 - 1028
Michael Ward24 8 - 19 -
Kevin Kelbie23 13511754
Christopher Getty (sub)21 2 - 2 -
Ryan Deans (sub)19 1 - 1 -
Paul McNeill (sub)20 1172

League Table (as at October 29th, 2008)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Glentoran 11 7 4 0 25
2. Crusaders 12 7 3 2 24
3. Linfield 10 7 1 2 22
4. Distillery 13 6 3 4 21
5. Coleraine 12 6 2 4 20
6. Bangor 13 6 2 5 20
7. Newry 13 3 7 3 16
8. Institute 13 4 3 6 15
9. Cliftonville 11 3 2 6 11
10. Dungannon 12 2 4 6 10
11. Glenavon 11 2 1 8 7
12. BALLYMENA UTD 13 1 4 8 7