Ballinamallard United 1
Ballymena United 3
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballinamallard Utd 

1 - 3

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Ferney Park
Attendance: 282
3:00 PM Kick-off

Joshua McIlwaine (66) Leroy Millar (15)
Tony Kane (pen.) (21)
Cathair Friel (55)

Team Managers
Gavin Dykes David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
1. Richard Brush
2. Ryan McConnell
3. Colm McLaughlin
4. Ross Taheny
6. Richard Clarke
9. Ryan Curran
11. Jason McCartney
12. Jonathan Leddy
14. Joshua McIlwaine
17. Niall Owens
20. Matthew Smyth
Conor Brennan .18
Andrew Burns .14
Jim Ervin .21
Jonathan Flynn .5
Tony Kane .2
Kyle Owens .4
Michael Gault .6
Leroy Millar .23
Gary Thompson .7
Cathair Friel .9
Joseph McKinney .26

7. Shane McGinty
15. Gary Armstrong
16. Blaine Burns
18. Ben McCann
19. Niall Brennan
Ross Glendinning .1
Steven McCullough .22
William Faulkner .12
Francis McCaffrey .24
Conor McCloskey .11

Gary Armstrong for Niall Owens (53)
Shane McGinty for Ryan McConnell (70)
Conor McCloskey for Joseph McKinney (85)

Colm McLaughlin (7)
Niall Owens (50)
Ryan McConnell (51)
Jim Ervin (29)
Jonathan Flynn (51)
Michael Gault (81)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Lee Tavinder (Referee)
Richard Storey & Jarlath McElholm (Assistants)
Mark Dillon (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Ballymena United got back to winning ways in the league with a 3-1 victory over Ballinamallard at Ferney Park.

A strong number of Sky Blue supporters made the long trip to Co. Fermanagh and were almost rewarded with a goal inside 3 minutes. Andrew Burns was played in on the right hand side and lifted the ball up over Mallards captain and keeper Richard Brush towards goal. Cathair Friel tried to help the ball over the line but Ballinamallard defender Colm McLaughlin got to the ball first to clear it on the line.

Ballymena went on to dominate the opening stages and went close again on the 10 minute mark, with Friel glancing a near post header from a corner just wide. 16 minutes in United made their pressure count by taking the lead via Leroy Millar. A Tony Kane corner was only cleared as far as Millar who struck a sweet half volley from outside the box past Brush to give Leroy Millar his second goal of the week.

Just four minutes later Ballymena were handed the chance to double the advantage after Kane was brought down in the box by an outstretched Mallards leg. Tony Kane got up and took the penalty himself, sending Brush the wrong way and giving the visitors a 2-0 lead.

It took until the 28th minute for the hosts first decent chance but Ross Taheny couldn't get a clean contact on a header from a corner. Ballymena almost handed Ballinamallard their first goal of the game shortly after when a punched clearance from Conor Brennan hit Michael Gault and headed back towards Brennan's goal, but the ball crept just wide of the post.

In a bright period of play for The Mallards Jonathan Leddy tested Brennan with a low, cross goal shot which Brennan was able to push away from goal. After that Niall Owens turned Johnny Flynn before having a shot deflected just wide and from the resulting corner Leddy couldn't curl the ball back inside the post from the edge of the box.

Just as they had started the half, United finished it quickly with two chances. A good team move eventually saw Friel play the ball out to Burns who crossed for an unmarked Joe McKinney, but he headed over. Then, Kane picked up a loose pass at the back from Matty Smyth and had time to set himself, but blazed over.

The second half was a much tighter affair but it was The Sky Blues who started quicker. McKinney controlled a long Burns throw in and cut the ball back to Kane, who had his shot blocked by Friel, before Gault lined up a shot but it too was blocked, this time by a home defender.
With 55 minutes on the clock Ballymena found a third goal to open up a sizeable lead. Gary Thompson was fouled on the right hand side of the box. Millar whipped the free kick in and it was met by the faintest of touches from Cathair Friel who flicked his header into the back of the net.

It could've been four not long after when Thompson set up Kane, but under pressure from Richard Clarke his tame shot was easily gathered by Brush. On 66 minutes Ballinamallard got a goal back courtesy of Joshua McIlwaine. Ryan McConnell crossed from the right and McIlwaine jumped highest to head the ball home past Brennan.

With 10 minutes left Mallard's sub Shane McGinty had a great chance to score when he had time to run with the ball but from just outside the box he pulled his shot wide. Michael Gault picked up a booking inside the final 10 minutes but an advantage from the referee allowed McGinty to play on. His ball across goal went under Brennan but he redeemed himself seconds later by stopping McGinty from point blank range. The goal put a spring in The Mallards step as they pushed to set up a tense finish. Ryan Curran dispossessed Kyle Owens halfway inside the United half but had little option other than to shot himself, dragging his effort wide.

In the final minutes Jason McCartney headed over at the back post for The Mallards. At the other end the fresh legs of United sub Conor McCloskey allowed him to run at the Ballinamallard defence, but his shot was easily saved as Ballymena had to settle for 3 goals and a win ahead of next weeks derby game.

Match report written by Philip McPeake (

Squad Statistics (as at September 23rd, 2017)

2017-2018 All Time
Conor Brennan (GK)23 6 - 6 -
Andrew Burns25 5 - 5 -
Jim Ervin32 10 - 1372
Jonathan Flynn27 10 - 463
Tony Kane30 12224535
Kyle Owens25 10 - 567
Michael Gault34 10 - 10 -
Leroy Millar22 52644
Gary Thompson27 8 - 17918
Cathair Friel24 1265729
Joseph McKinney23 111262
Conor McCloskey (sub)25 11 - 436

League Table (as at September 23rd, 2017)

Pld W D L +/- Pts

* - Table split into two divisions of six.