Ballymena United 2
Armagh City 1
League (Irish Premier League)


Ballymena United
2 - 1
Armagh City 

League (Irish Premier League)
Saturday, March 15th, 2008
Ballymena Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

Goalscorers
Stuart King (57)
Kevin Kelbie (84)
Gary Fitzpatrick (15)

Team Managers
Tommy Wright
Gary McKinstry

Starting Eleven
Paul Murphy
Simon Kelly
Craig McClean
Thomas Wray
Gary Haveron
Stuart King
Stephen Lowry
Gavin Melaugh
Aidan Watson
Kevin Kelbie
Michael Ward
Stuart Addis
Ciaran Friel
Iain Latimer
Gary Fitzpatrick
David Hawthorne
James Slater
Liam Cullen
Shane Coney
Johnny McSorley
Austin McCann
Mark Gracey

Bench
Lee Patrick
Garth Scates
Mark Picking
David Cushley
Davitt Walsh
Ciaran McMullan
Conor Forker
Austin McCann
Peter McNeill
Finbar Heffernan

Substitutions
Garth Scates for Stephen Lowry (72)
Davitt Walsh for Craig McClean (83)
Lee Patrick for Michael Ward (87)
Ciaran McMullan for Johnny McSorley (50)
Conor Forker for Austin McCann (87)

Cautions
Gary Haveron (40)
Liam Cullen (23)
David Hawthorne (74)
Mark Gracey (86)
Gary Fitzpatrick (90)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Iain Hall (Belfast) (Referee)


Match Report


BALLYMENA United came back from a goal down to win their first match since New Year's Day against Armagh City at the Showgrounds.

United manager Tommy Wright made a number of changes to his starting eleven, bringing in Michael Ward, Aidan Watson, Stephen Lowry and Gary Haveron back into the side.

It was the visitors who started well against a Ballymena side playing their first game in nearly three weeks due to the postponement of last week's game against Limavady and the Irish Cup ties the week before.

Gary McKinstry's Armagh City side took the lead after just 15 minutes, when Johnny McSorley's dangerous free-kick was met with a powerful header from Terry Fitzpatrick.

Braid goalkeeper Paul Murphy managed to get a hand the ball, but couldn't prevent the strong effort finding it's way into the back of the United goal.

The visitors, who have struggled to find form of late, were dominating the play against a hapless United side - and could well have gone two goals ahead when Liam Cullen played through Shane Coney and he forced an excellent reaction save from Murphy, who managed to turn the goalbound effort away with his feet.

On the half hour Armagh had a goal disallowed after a handball in the build up to Liam Cullen's attempt on goal.

The best that the home side could muster came late in the half when Stuart King fired wide from close range, as the Sky Blues went into the break with the distinct possibility of losing their sixth game in sucession.

Ballymena United came out of the blocks in the second half and looked like a team determined to make amends, as they battled hard but continued to struggle to make a breakthrough.

The equaliser did come on 57 minutes though when the Sky Blues were awarded a free-kick on the right-hand edge of the penalty area.

Winger Stuart King, who had a fine second half, managed to overhit his cross and the ball rocketed into the top corner to bring his side back into the game with only his second goal of the season.

Wright through on Garth Scates and Davitt Walsh in search of a winner and it came six minutes from time, as the constant pressure finally paid off.

Combative midfielder Gavin Melaugh played Kevin Kelbie through and the Scot got the better of Ciaran Friel before firing home for his 14th goal of the season and what turned out to be the winning goal.

Tommy Wright was pleased with the long overdue victory; "We have to look forward, not back, we are pleased to get it. I thought we held our nerve and composure even after they took the lead. They are very difficult to break down. The first half hour we looked as if we hadn't played for three weeks," he said.

"The last 15 minutes of the first half we created four or five good chances. Second half, I don't think they can have any complaints. I thought we fully dominated the game and deserved to win."

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website



Squad Statistics (as at March 15th, 2008)


2007-2008 All Time
Age
Paul Murphy (GK)22 33 - 73 -
Simon Kelly23 231362
Craig McClean22 31 - 90 -
Thomas Wray24 151151
Gary Haveron27 26110310
Stuart King26 242847
Stephen Lowry21 233353
Gavin Melaugh26 283353
Aidan Watson21 11 - 713
Kevin Kelbie23 28149847
Michael Ward23 5 - 5 -
Garth Scates (sub)28 32416116
Lee Patrick (sub)29 231717
Davitt Walsh (sub)21 21102110



League Table (as at March 15th, 2008)


Pld W D L Pts
1. Cliftonville 24 18 5 1 59
2. Linfield 24 18 4 2 58
3. Glentoran 24 17 4 3 55
4. Distillery 24 14 5 5 47
5. Portadown 24 13 2 9 41
6. BALLYMENA UTD 23 11 4 8 37
7. Newry 24 10 3 11 33
8. Crusaders 24 8 7 9 31
9. Dungannon 24 8 6 10 30
10. Coleraine 24 8 6 10 30
11. Glenavon 24 7 2 15 23
12. Donegal Celtic 24 5 7 12 22
13. Armagh City 24 5 5 14 20
14. Institute 24 4 6 14 18
15. Larne 24 4 4 16 16
16. Limavady Utd 23 4 4 15 16