3 - 0
3 - 0
League (Irish Premier League)
Kevin Kelbie (12)
Kevin Kelbie (65)
Kevin Kelbie (76)
Nigel Boyd for David Cushley (75)
Stephen Lowry for Garth Scates (77)
Randal Reid for Kevin Kelbie (82)
Anderson for Gollogley (59)
Ward for Fulton (68)
Gzregorgzk for Kearney (65)
Keith Halliday (Bangor) (Referee)
KEVIN KELBIE grabbed a hat-trick as Ballymena United defeated relegation threatened Larne 3-0 at Ballymena Showgrounds.
Scottish striker, Kelbie, claimed his 15th goal of the campaign to complete his first hat-trick of the season and was overjoyed with the match-ball.
"It was a perfect hat-trick and it's nice to get that on the sheet, and the one with the right surprised me because I favour my left and I hit it so hard," Kelbie told the Sunday Life..
"The team played brilliantly today, and we really enjoyed ourselves. A few of the boys signing the ball at the end of the match said I was greedy but I'm a striker and I have a hunger for goals."
Tommy Wright brought in some reserve players as promised, following the cup defeat to Linfield last week; as David Cushley made his full-debut and Randal Reid was re-admitted to the squad in place of Paul Brown.
Ballymena opened the scoring against their East-Antrim neighbours after only 12 minutes as Mark Picking's corner was headed away by Noel Corrigan. Garth Scates lobbed the ball back into the danger area allowing Kelbie to break the offside trap and beat Keenan to the high ball to head home.
That remained the only goal of the half, as United dominated possession in the Larne half, as Chris Keenan was called upon numerous times to prevent chances from Kelbie and the lively debutant, Cushley.
Ballymena continued to completely dominate the game, against a Larne side devoid of the spirit and determination that has been associated with the Inver Reds over the years.
On 65 minutes, Kelbie grabbed his second goal of the game, when he was given time and space to easily slot home Mark Picking's cross from the right hand-side, to virtually end the game as a contest.
He claimed his match-ball after 76 minutes, when a United corner was headed away by Corrigan, only to the feet of Kelbie; who from six yards out blasted the ball into the roof off the net - giving Keenan no chance.
This was ironically the first hat-trick scored by a Ballymena United player, since Kelbie, himself, scored three against Larne in the County Antrim Shield semi-final in January last year at Inver Park.
The Scot went off to a standing ovation from the Sky Blue faithful on 82 minutes, being replaced by Randal Reid.
So a relatively simple three points, closes the gap slightly on some of the teams above Ballymena in the table going into the final stages of the season.
Match report written by Official Ballymena United website
|Paul Murphy (GK)||22||37||-||37||-|
|Nigel Boyd (sub)||33||15||-||372||22|
|Stephen Lowry (sub)||20||8||-||8||-|
|Randal Reid (sub)||20||13||3||16||3|