Crusaders 2
Ballymena United 1
League (NIFL Premiership)


Crusaders 

2 - 1

Ballymena United


League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, February 11th, 2017
Seaview
Attendance: 1,294
3:00 PM Kick-off


Goalscorers
Gavin Whyte (34)
David Cushley (40)
Tony Kane (78)

Team Managers
Stephen Baxter David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
1. Sean O'Neill
2. BJ Burns
3. Howard Beverland
6. Colin Coates
7. Philip Lowry
10. Michael Carvill
11. David Cushley
14. Jordan Forsythe
17. Craig McClean
18. Jordan Owens
23. Gavin Whyte
Ross Glendinning .1
Kyle Owens .4
Jim Ervin .21
Tony Kane .2
Caolan Loughran .34
Leroy Millar .23
Allan Jenkins .10
William Faulkner .12
Kevin Braniff .24
Cathair Friel .14
Jonathan McMurray .27

Bench
8. Andrew Mitchell
15. Ross Holden
20. Richard Clarke
21. Alan Keane
35. Mikel Suarez
Tim Allen .28
Jonathan Flynn .5
Conor McCloskey .11
Francis McCaffrey .29
Neil Lowry .20

Substitutions
Mikel Suarez for David Cushley (85) Neil Lowry for Jonathan McMurray (80)
Jonathan Flynn for Jim Ervin (90)
Francis McCaffrey for Tony Kane (90)

Cautions
Colin Coates (39)
Howard Beverland (77)
Caolan Loughran (87)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus) (Referee)



Match Report


Ballymena United suffered a 2-1 defeat against league leaders Crusaders in a spirited performance at Seaview.

Extremely windy conditions made life difficult for United in the first half and consequently the home side in the second period. Crusaders flew out of the blocks with three chances inside three minutes. Jordan Owens headed wide with 20 seconds on the clock before Ross Glendinning made two saves to deny Jordan Forsythe and Billy Joe Burns.

The next chance also came the way of the home side as Crusaders' Owens got the better of his brother Kyle Owens, but Glendinning was on hand again to save. With 30 minutes gone, Crusaders couldn't have gone closer when Michael Carvill beat three men before teeing up Owens, but his shot was deflected onto the post before being cleared.

However on 34 minutes, Ballymena's valiant defending was undone as the league leaders went ahead. Gavin Whyte turned his man before bursting through and kept his nerve to fire low past Glendinning at his near post. 6 minutes later Crusaders doubled their lead. The ball fell nicely on the outside of the box to United old boy David Cushley, and his strong shot deflected in past Glendinning off Kyle Owens.

In added time, Crusaders thought they had a third when captain Colin Coates headed home from close range, but it was ruled out for a foul on Leroy Millar.

Having defended for most of the first half, Ballymena approached the second half with much more purpose and almost got back into the game in bizarre circumstances. A header from Howard Beverland was meant for Sean O'Neill but instead hit Cathair Friel, but the ball came off the striker and went wide. Johnny McMurray was next for a chance when he tried his luck from 25 yards, but it went just wide of O'Neill's goal.

As the wind continued to cause Crusaders problems, Coates caused his own when his misplaced header had O'Neill scrambling to prevent an own goal, but the 'keeper did well to get a hand on it and keep it out. At the other end, Jordan Owens called Glendinning to make a routine save before a dangerous Whyte sent an effort just wide. With 12 minutes to go, the Sky Blues got back into the contest with a goal from a likely source. Friel was hacked down on the edge of the box by Beverland, who picked up a yellow for his troubles. From 19 yards out, Tony Kane stepped up and unsurprisingly found the top corner to grab his eighteenth of the season.

The away side continued with their pressure in search of the equaliser, but Jordan Owens could've killed the game off when he went one on one with Glendinning, but again the Sky Blue man came out on top. United were unsuccessful in their attempts for a leveller as they lost their final game before they return to Seaview next week for the League Cup final.

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



Squad Statistics (as at February 11th, 2017)


2016-2017 All Time
Age
Ross Glendinning (GK)23 22 - 22 -
Tony Kane29 351822430
Kyle Owens24 345345
Caolan Loughran22 232252
Jim Ervin31 36 - 1142
Leroy Millar21 281462
Allan Jenkins35 35524048
William Faulkner27 3246510
Cathair Friel23 35193519
Kevin Braniff33 2222
Jonathan McMurray22 29112911
Jonathan Flynn (sub)27 11 - 261
Francis McCaffrey (sub)23 125125
Neil Lowry (sub)23 10 - 623



League Table (as at February 11th, 2017)


Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 28 21 5 2 39 68
2. Linfield 28 18 7 3 43 61
3. Cliftonville 28 16 4 8 16 52
4. Coleraine 28 14 7 7 13 49
5. BALLYMENA UTD 28 14 3 11 0 45
6. Glenavon 28 9 11 8 0 38
7. Dungannon Swifts 28 9 8 11 3 35
8. Glentoran 28 8 8 12 -8 32
9. Ards 29 8 5 16 -13 29
10. Ballinamallard Utd 28 8 5 15 -19 29
11. Carrick Rangers 29 4 5 20 -36 17
12. Portadown 28 5 2 21 -38 5

* - Table split into two divisions of six.