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Ballymena United 1
League (Irish Premier League)


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Ballymena United

League (Irish Premier League)
Wednesday, December 26th, 2007
Coleraine Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,975
3:00 PM Kick-off

David Patton (77) Stephen Lowry (77)

Team Managers
Marty Quinn Tommy Wright

Starting Eleven
David O'Hare
Kyle McVey
Noel Anderson
Darren Boyce
Tommy McCallion
Stephen Carson
John Watt
Damien Whitehead
John Neill
Trevor Hutchinson
Howard Beverland
Paul Murphy
Jonathan Flynn
Simon Kelly
Craig McClean
Albert Watson
Gary Haveron
Stephen Lowry
Gavin Melaugh
Garth Scates
David Cushley
Kevin Kelbie

David Patton
Sean Heneghan
Gordon Patton
Alan Ewart
Adam McCart
Thomas Wray
Stuart King
Lee Patrick
Mark Picking
Darren Fitzgerald

David Patton for Trevor Hutchinson (64)
Gordon Patton for Damien Whitehead (82)
Stuart King for David Cushley (33)
Lee Patrick for Garth Scates (82)
Mark Picking for Stephen Lowry (87)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Ken Ginnett (Newtownabbey) (Referee)

Match Report

STEPHEN Lowry's goal was enough to earn the Sky Blues a Boxing Day draw and stretch their unbeaten run now to nine games.

The annual festive meeting between Coleraine and Ballymena United is sure to bring out one of the biggest crowds of the season - and the fans turned out in their droves for this 'derby' clash at the Ballycastle Road.

Unfortunately it wasn't a great spectacle of football served up, as both teams may have lacked any real skill or creativity on the day - but both sides certainly made up for it in passion.

Coleraine started the first half brightly - with Damien Whitehead and Stephen Carson going close. Ironically the two players that put the Sky Blues to the sword one year ago on Boxing Day.

In-form striker, Kevin Kelbie, had Ballymena's first real opportunity when he dragged his shot across the face of the Coleraine goal.

It was the home side that dominated the possession for spells, as they had numerous corners which Paul Murphy was equal to without really being tested.

Young winger David Cushley was forced off on 33 minutes after a bad tackle from Howard Beverland. He was replaced with Stuart King on the left side of midfield.

A late rally from both teams produced the best chances of the half - firstly Noel Anderson went close before Stephen Carson's header forced Murphy to be alert. At the other end Gavin Melaugh's ambitious long-range strike had to be tipped around the post by Davy O'Hare.

The second half started at the same fast pace the first had finished with, as Craig McClean made a superbly timed tackle to deny Stephen Carson a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Ballymena started to take the game to the Bannsiders, firstly another great stop by O'Hare from Melaugh and then Simon Kelly's effort was cleared off the line by John Neill.

It looked only a matter of time before the deadlock would be broken - but against the run of play in the 73rd minute Coleraine took the lead.

Tommy McCallion's low cross from the right deceived the United defence and substitute Davy Patton - who had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes - sneaked in to finish.

However, the lead didn't last long as Ballymena's fighting spirit prevailed as Stuart King's corner on 77 minutes was flicked on by the head of Flynn, only for O'Hare to make a mistake which allowed Lowry to get the final touch to knock home the equaliser.

United pushed for a winner, but it remained a draw. Manager Tommy Wright felt it was two points dropped by his side.

"I thought their 'keeper had to work harder than ours but sometimes when you're on top and you concede a goal, it can be soul destroying but we battled back and that's why we're remaining unbeaten.

"We played well and played some good football on a difficult pitch and we're a bit disappointed only to get a point."

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

Squad Statistics (as at December 26th, 2007)

2007-2008 All Time
Paul Murphy (GK)22 22 - 62 -
Jonathan Flynn18 111111
Simon Kelly23 16 - 291
Craig McClean22 21 - 80 -
Albert Watson22 2211957
Gary Haveron26 18 - 959
Stephen Lowry21 163283
Gavin Melaugh26 17 - 24 -
Garth Scates28 22315115
David Cushley18 112172
Kevin Kelbie22 1778740
Mark Picking (sub)32 1845711
Stuart King (sub)26 131736
Lee Patrick (sub)29 141627

League Table (as at December 26th, 2007)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Cliftonville 14 11 3 0 36
2. Linfield 14 11 1 2 34
3. Glentoran 14 10 2 2 32
4. Distillery 14 9 0 5 27
5. BALLYMENA UTD 14 8 2 4 26
6. Portadown 14 8 1 5 25
7. Newry 14 7 2 5 23
8. Crusaders 14 5 4 5 19
9. Coleraine 14 4 4 6 16
10. Dungannon 13 3 4 6 13
11. Glenavon 14 4 0 10 12
12. Armagh City 14 3 3 8 12
13. Institute 14 3 3 8 12
14. Limavady Utd 14 3 3 8 12
15. Donegal Celtic 13 2 2 9 8
16. Larne 14 1 4 9 7