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League (Irish Premier League)


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Ballymena United

League (Irish Premier League)
Saturday, December 30th, 2006
Newry Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

Raymond Fitzpatrick (79) Randal Reid (53)
Mark Picking (67)
Gary Haveron (pen.) (71)

Team Managers
Roy Coyle Tommy Wright

Starting Eleven
Robert Robinson
Niall Hudson
Darren King
Paddy McLaughlin
Paddy Quinn
Richard Clarke
Andrew Crawford
Damien Curran
Kevin Keegan
Lee Feeney
Steven Ferguson
Paul Murphy
Aaron Callaghan
Craig McClean
Albert Watson
Gary Haveron
Stuart King
Lee Patrick
Mark Picking
Aidan Watson
Darren Fitzgerald
Randal Reid

Raymond Fitzpatrick
Paul Donegan
David Ward
Darren Murphy
Garth Scates
Kevin Kelbie

Raymond Fitzpatrick for Lee Feeney (66) Kevin Kelbie for Darren Fitzgerald (67)
Garth Scates for Randal Reid (78)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Stephen Weatherall (Belfast) (Referee)

Match Report

BALLYMENA United brought 2006 to a close in winning fashion with a 3-1 success at Newry City today.

Second half goals from Randal Reid, Mark Picking and a Gary Haveron penalty put United into a commanding position before Newry pulled a late consolation goal back.

The win was the perfect response to criticism which the players had received following the Boxing Day 'derby' defeat at the hands of Coleraine.

The first half gave little indication of the ease with which Ballymena would ultimately triumph. It was a closely-contested affair with little in the way of goalscoring opportunities created by either side.

Newry came close in the 17th minute when Richard Clarke crossed from the left and Steven Ferguson's almost nonchalant flicked effort clipped the top of Paul Murphy's crossbar on its way over.

Then Lee Patrick's misguided back header was knocked on by Andy Crawford but Kevin Keegan's first-time volley from the edge of the penalty area flew just wide with Murphy beaten.

Ballymena's first real meaningful effort didn't come until two minutes before the interval and involved two players restored to the starting line-up.

Aidan Watson's clever through ball found Randal Reid in a good position in the penalty area but, rather than shoot, the young striker opted to pull the ball across goal and when it deflected off a defender, the in-rushing Mark Picking could only shoot straight at Robert Robinson.

But within eight minutes of the restart, Ballymena were in front. Makeshift Newry centre-back Paddy Quinn made an error of judgement with an attempted back-pass which was seized upon by Darren Fitzgerald, who coolly laid the ball into the path of his striker partner Reid to fire home an angled drive.

The second goal came on 67 minutes when Patrick threaded a beautifully-weighted through ball past the Newry rearguard for Picking to race clear and round Robinson before slotting home.

And the game was over as contest four minutes later when United were awarded a penalty after referee Stephen Weatherall adjudged that substitute Kevin Kelbie had been impeded by full-back Niall Hudson in his efforts to connect with Picking's right-wing cross. Defender Gary Haveron assumed the penalty-taking duties and tucked his effort low into the right-hand corner.

Newry pulled a goal back on 79 minutes when Hudson's cross eluded a number of players in the penalty area before being bundled home at the back post by substitute Ray Fitzpatrick but Ballymena ran out comfortable winners to give them a boost ahead of Tuesday night's home game with league leaders Glentoran.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

Squad Statistics (as at December 30th, 2006)

2006-2007 All Time
Paul Murphy (GK)21 22 - 22 -
Aaron Callaghan20 21 - 21 -
Craig McClean21 8 - 41 -
Albert Watson21 2111565
Gary Haveron25 202636
Stuart King25 111464
Lee Patrick28 163394
Mark Picking31 216216
Aidan Watson20 17 - 483
Darren Fitzgerald29 142257
Randal Reid20 6393
Garth Scates (sub)27 2121128
Kevin Kelbie (sub)21 2065122

League Table (as at December 30th, 2006)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Glentoran 15 11 3 1 36
2. Linfield 15 10 4 1 34
3. Portadown 15 10 3 2 33
4. Cliftonville 15 9 4 2 31
5. Crusaders 15 9 1 5 28
6. Distillery 15 8 3 4 27
7. Dungannon 15 8 2 5 26
8. Coleraine 15 6 3 6 21
9. BALLYMENA UTD 15 5 4 6 19
10. Armagh City 15 6 1 8 19
11. Newry 15 4 4 7 16
12. Limavady Utd 15 4 3 8 15
13. Glenavon 15 3 3 9 12
14. Donegal Celtic 15 2 5 8 11
15. Loughgall 15 0 4 11 4
16. Larne 15 1 1 13 4