Crusaders 3
Ballymena United 2
League (NIFL Premiership)


3 - 2

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, November 28th, 2015
Attendance: 1,278
3:00 PM Kick-off

Jordan Owens (13)
Dwayne Nelson (o.g.) (37)
BJ Burns (pen.) (53)
Matthew Tipton (48)
Matthew Tipton (63)

Team Managers
Stephen Baxter Glenn Ferguson

Starting Eleven
Sean O'Neill
BJ Burns
Colin Coates
David Magowan
Craig McClean
Richard Clarke
Declan Caddell
Jordan Forsythe
Paul Heatley
Matthew Snoddy
Jordan Owens
Dwayne Nelson .1
Jim Ervin .21
Stephen McBride .3
Kyle McVey .22
Gareth Rodger
Jonathan Taylor .5
Allan Jenkins .10
Mark Magennis .6
Gary Thompson .7
David Cushley .11
Matthew Tipton .14

Joshua Robinson
Michael Carvill
Diarmuid O'Carroll
Stephen O'Flynn
Gavin Whyte
Patrick McNally .4
William Faulkner .12
Matthew Ferguson .19
Eoin Kane .15
Darren Henderson .9

Joshua Robinson for Richard Clarke (72)
Michael Carvill for Paul Heatley (86)
William Faulkner for Mark Magennis (59)
Matthew Ferguson for Kyle McVey (60)

Colin Coates (65) Dwayne Nelson (18)
Mark Magennis (53)
Jonathan Taylor (56)
Jim Ervin (90)
Gareth Rodger (90)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Keith Kennedy (Referee)

Match Report

BALLYMENA United put up a battling performance in woeful conditions today as they lost 3-2 to Crusaders.

The game started with United playing into heavy rain and they had to defend an early free kick after Paul Heatley was taken down. Jordan Owens and Declan Caddell managed to confuse themselves and wasted the chance, before Dwayne Nelson had to save from Matthew Snoddy and Jordan Forsythe.

A wind assisted cross from Forsythe beat Nelson but the ball came back off the bar, then a Crusaders corner was played straight to the United keeper. In their next attack the home side went ahead, Heatley passing to Owens who sent it into the net from 12 yards.

Minutes later Nelson had to punch a Billy Joe Burns cross away, but it fell to Owens who seen his snapshot across the goalmouth come off the post. Nelson appeared to bring Heatley down in the box and referee Keith Kennedy pointed to the spot, Heatley blasting the penalty kick over the bar.

Nelson was by far the busier of the keepers and had to make a point blank save to deny Heatley, then Caddell was penalised as the ball came in from a corner. In the 22nd minute United won a corner, but it was easily cleared by the Crues defence. A cross from Magennis was turned away for a corner after another 6 minutes, Kyle McVey having a great chance but heading over the bar from 2 yards with a free header.

On 33 minutes United had a free kick from 18 yards but Crusaders managed to clear it. Almost immediately at the other end a corner for the home side was sent in and a flick from Forsythe was booted clear. This was followed by another corner, this time headed clear by the Ballymena United defence. Forsythe snuck in behind the back line and had a glorious chance but his flick went over the bar this time.

Richard Clarke sent a corner into the box and Nelson got his hand to it but palmed it towards the goal and the linesman ruled that it had crossed the line. At times it seemed to be the Owens show as numerous chances were missed or dealt with by United. Just before the break Nelson missed a punch at the ball from a corner, then Colin Coates had a shot deflected for another corner, which came to nothing.

The visitors will have been pleased to hear the referee blow the whistle to end what was an incredibly difficult first half for the visiting defenders and keeper Dwayne Nelson.

3 minutes into the second half and United had pulled a goal back, Sean O'Neill saving David Cushley's low drive but Matthew Tipton tapping in the rebound. At the other end Owens was impeded by Kyle McVey in the box and Billy Joe Burns stepped up to send the penalty home and restore Crusaders' two goal lead.

David Cushley was stopped by Craig McClean but won a corner, which was eventually cleared by the Crues defence. Glenn Ferguson shook it up a bit, bringing on Willie Faulkner and Matthew Ferguson for Magennis and McVey, and it wasn't long before Faulkner had a good chance, O'Neill getting down quickly to stop his first shot on goal.

In the 63rd minute Tipton grabbed his second goal, getting onto another rebound after a 35 yard shot from Cushley was saved by O'Neill. Moments later McClean was alert and managed to block an effort from Cushley, then Tipton shot just over and wide. Cushley was in great form in the second half and was causing the home side problems. With 15 minutes left United won a free kick in the middle of the Crusaders half, but O'Neill was fouled and was awarded a free kick.

As United continued to search for an equaliser, Davy Magowan had to make a great challenge to prevent an attack, then McClean was alert to get in the way of a shot. With less than 5 minutes left Cushley had a chance from a free kick but his shot went straight out for a goal kick.

At the other end substitute Michael Carvill was just beaten to the ball as he headed in towards goal, then Snoddy headed straight at Nelson. United had a final chance cleared by Magowan before the referee brought the curtain down.

Match report written by Paul Irwin

Squad Statistics (as at November 28th, 2015)

2015-2016 All Time
Dwayne Nelson (GK)31 21 - 226 -
Jim Ervin30 211562
Stephen McBride32 6 - 64 -
Kyle McVey29 171293
Gareth Rodger21 131131
Jonathan Taylor27 16112412
Allan Jenkins34 22418236
Mark Magennis32 10 - 10 -
Gary Thompson25 17213016
David Cushley26 22922158
Matthew Tipton35 1586227
William Faulkner (sub)25 171171
Matthew Ferguson (sub)20 9 - 15 -

League Table (as at November 28th, 2015)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 18 14 3 1 31 45
2. Coleraine 18 12 3 3 13 39
3. Cliftonville 17 11 4 2 12 37
4. Linfield 18 10 3 5 18 33
5. Glenavon 18 9 4 5 17 31
6. Glentoran 18 7 6 5 1 27
7. BALLYMENA UTD 18 5 4 9 -11 19
8. Ballinamallard Utd 18 4 3 11 -10 15
9. Dungannon 17 3 3 11 -13 12
10. Carrick 16 2 5 9 -13 11
11. Warrenpoint Town 18 1 1 16 -35 4

* - Table split into two divisions of six.