Newry Town (City) 2
Ballymena United 2
Irish Cup (Round 5)


2 - 2

Ballymena United

Irish Cup (Round 5)
Saturday, January 12th, 2008
Newry Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

Jonathan Flynn (o.g.) (13)
Chris Morgan (58)
Simon Kelly (29)
Kevin Kelbie (48)

Team Managers
Unknown. Tommy Wright

Starting Eleven
Robert Robinson
Niall Hudson
Cullen Feeney
Paddy McLaughlin
Emmet Friars
Richard Clarke
Darren King
Steven Ferguson
Chris Morgan
Sean Friars
Kevin Keegan
Paul Murphy
Jonathan Flynn
Craig McClean
Thomas Wray
Simon Kelly
Stuart King
Mark Picking
Gary Haveron
Gavin Melaugh
Lee Patrick
Kevin Kelbie

Lee Feeney
Andrew Coleman
Ian Curran
Tony Anderson
Paul Donegan
Aaron Callaghan
Stephen Lowry
Davitt Walsh
David Cushley
Darren Fitzgerald

Lee Feeney for Chris Morgan (80) Stephen Lowry for Mark Picking (76)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

David Malcolm (Bangor) (Referee)

Match Report

BOTH Newry City and Ballymena United will get a second crack at progression to the sixth round of the Irish Cup after an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Newry Showgrounds.

Garth Scates (suspension) and Albert Watson (illness) missed the game, with Lee Patrick and Simon Kelly coming in to stake their claim for a regular starting berth.

Stand-in captain, Gary Haveron, also celebrated a landmark as it was his 100th appearance in a Ballymena United shirt, after joining from Coleraine in 2005.

It was a horror start for the Sky Blues, who had previously went a dozen games unbeaten, as they went behind in bizarre circumstances after just 13 minutes.

Chris Morgan released Kevin Keegan down the left flank and his low cross was blocked by teenage defender, Johnny Flynn, who harmlessly directed the ball towards Paul Murphy in the Ballymena goal.

Murphy stopped the ball but somehow the ball squirmed out of his grasp from under him, and despite a futile attempt to prevent a major embarrassment - the ball trickled over the line for the opening goal.

Ballymena's heads didn't drop and went on the attack in search of an equaliser, which duly came on 29 minutes when Stuart King's corner was powerfully headed home by the unmarked Simon Kelly.

This was the big Dundalk defender's first goal of the season, and only his second strike since his move from his hometown club last January.

The game proved a tense affair with battling midfield displays from both sides in what proved to be a typical cup tie – as tensions ran high going into the break.

Ballymena United took the lead three minutes into the second half, when a Mark Picking cross from the right was poorly dealt with by the Newry defence allowing Kevin Kelbie time to place a right footed shot past Robert Robinson for his 11th goal of the season.

Newry hit back just before hour mark to pull the scores level again. Richard Clarke's pass found former United target, Chris Morgan, who with his back to goal turned sharply and rifled a spectacular half-volley into the bottom corner giving Murphy no chance.

Despite the home side being in the ascendancy, it was Tommy Wright's side that nearly cemented their place in the Sixth Round when Stuart King picked up the ball and cut inside before rifling an unstoppable effort from 30 yards which cannoned off the crossbar with 5 minutes remaining.

David Malcolm blew the game up to signal that both sides will have to go at it again on Tuesday night (15th) at the Warden Street venue.

"I'm disappointed because when you go 2-1 up away from home then the next 10 minutes are vital and we gave a sloppy goal away," said Tommy Wright.

"But we showed character and we're still in the hat for the next round and that was the most important thing. I didn't think in the first half that we passed the ball that well and we gave it away cheaply.

"We were defending really well from them and then the keeper makes a mistake because there was a lot of spin on the ball, but Murph has been brilliant for us this season and he went on to make an important save in the second half. Those things happen in football."

The winners of Tuesday's replay will face Dundela at home in the Sixth Round.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

Squad Statistics (as at January 12th, 2008)

2007-2008 All Time
Paul Murphy (GK)22 26 - 66 -
Simon Kelly23 171302
Jonathan Flynn18 151151
Thomas Wray24 8 - 8 -
Craig McClean22 24 - 83 -
Mark Picking32 2246111
Gavin Melaugh26 211281
Stuart King26 171776
Gary Haveron26 2219910
Lee Patrick29 181667
Kevin Kelbie22 21119144
Stephen Lowry (sub)21 203323

League Table (as at January 12th, 2008)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 17 13 2 2 41
2. Glentoran 17 12 2 3 38
3. Cliftonville 15 11 4 0 37
4. BALLYMENA UTD 17 10 3 4 33
5. Distillery 16 10 1 5 31
6. Portadown 16 9 1 6 28
7. Newry 17 8 2 7 26
8. Crusaders 17 5 5 7 20
9. Dungannon Swifts 16 5 4 7 19
10. Coleraine 16 5 4 7 19
11. Institute 17 4 5 8 17
12. Armagh City 17 4 4 9 16
13. Glenavon 17 4 1 12 13
14. Limavady United 15 3 3 9 12
15. Donegal Celtic 14 2 3 9 9
16. Larne 16 1 4 11 7