Ballymena United 1
Linfield 3
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
1 - 3

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, December 19th, 2015
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,569
3:00 PM Kick-off

David Cushley (34)
Sean Ward (60)
Andrew Waterworth (75)
Guy Bates (90)

Team Managers
Glenn Ferguson
David Healy

Starting Eleven
18. Alan Blayney
21. Jim Ervin
2. Tony Kane
4. Patrick McNally
17. Michael Ruddy
5. Jonathan Taylor
10. Allan Jenkins
15. Eoin Kane
7. Gary Thompson
11. David Cushley
16. Matthew Shevlin
Ross Glendinning
Sean Ward
Mark Haughey
Jimmy Callacher
Matthew Clarke
Mark Stafford
Niall Quinn
Jamie Mulgrew
Kirk Millar
Andrew Waterworth
Paul Smyth

22. Kyle McVey
19. Matthew Ferguson
24. Nathan Hanley
8. Gavin Taggart
9. Darren Henderson
Jonathan Frazer
Aaron Burns
Guy Bates
David Kee
Reece Glendinning

Matthew Ferguson for Michael Ruddy (21)
Nathan Hanley for David Cushley (62)
Darren Henderson for Matthew Shevlin (76)
Jonathan Frazer for Kirk Millar (74)
Aaron Burns for Niall Quinn (82)
Guy Bates for Andrew Waterworth (87)

David Cushley (31)
Matthew Ferguson (57)
Paul Smyth (25)
Jamie Mulgrew (44)
Mark Stafford (77)

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Tim Marshall (Referee)

Match Report

DAVID Cushley scored a spectacular opening goal for United today, but it wasn't enough as Linfield ended 3-1 winners.

Linfield had the first real chance of the game a few minutes in, but shot from Paul Smyth went was high and went over the bar. Moments later the same player turned his man and fired towards goal but it was straight at Alan Blayney's feet. Linfield were awarded a free kick in the 8th minute and Blayney had to be alert to turn the ball round the post from Niall Quinn's attempt. As United tried to get into the game David Cushley caught a ball that looked to be going out of play, took it past two Linfield defenders and it took a good challenge to stop him and clear the danger.

On 21 minutes Michael Ruddy came off holding his arm, replaced by Matthew Ferguson. Shortly afterwards Paul Smyth was booked for dissent after throwing the ball away, the United free kick coming to nothing. Quinn sent a corner in after Smyth had taken a quick free kick and it was put behind the goal line, Haughey having his chance blocked by his own player. A dangerous challenge by Cushley on Jamie Mulgrew earnt him a yellow card in the 30th minute.

United broke the deadlock in stunning fashion in the 34th minute after Allan Jenkins had chased an apparently lost cause and Linfield keeper Ross Glendinning cleared to Cushley who shot from 5 yards inside the half, the ball bouncing once before flying into the roof of the net. Moments later the same player hit a stunning volley across the face of goal but it went out of play.
A Linfield corner from Quinn in the 39th minute again threatened the United goal, but it was eventually cleared away. In injury time Paddy McNally made a fantastic challenge on Mulgrew to prevent him reaching the box with a clear shot on goal.

In the first 5 minutes of the second half Linfield had a series of corners but the United defence stay solid and won the goal kick after Andy Waterworth had put the ball onto the top of the net. On 54 minutes Cushley took a free kick but it was easily gathered by Glendinning. Minutes later a Cushley free kick was sent past the wall and hit Mark Stafford, the ball falling to Matthew Shevlin but he couldn't get the right connection on it. The ball was cleared up the pitch and Sean Ward got on the end of it to chip over the oncoming Blayney for the equalising goal.

On 63 minutes Cushley had to be replaced by Nathan Hanley after picking up an injury. As the visitors continued to press, a Niall Quinn corner reached Jimmy Callacher but his effort was stopped by a superb save from Blayney. Moments later Tony Kane was alert to the run from Waterworth and made a last ditch challenge to prevent the shot. In the 73rd minute Kirk Millar was then replaced by Jonny Frazer who had an immediate impact by getting the ball forward to Smyth who cut it back to Waterworth whose deflected shot found the net to give Linfield the lead.

In the 80th minute Allan Jenkins pulled down Mark Haughey free kick was sent forward and came off Paddy McNally for a corner, but it was cleared. With less than 3 minutes to go Allan Jenkins appeared to be pushed in the back by Stafford in the penalty box but referee Tim Marshall waved away the appeals of the United players. In injury time Ballymena won a free kick just outside the box, cleared by the Linfield defence to Tony Kane who had a shot on goal. The ball went out for a corner which Kane tried to play in but there were several players offside and the linesman put his flag up. The last action of the game came as Guy Bates fired in at close range from a corner to secure the points for Linfield.

Match report written by Paul Irwin

Squad Statistics (as at December 19th, 2015)

2015-2016 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)34 6 - 44 -
Jim Ervin30 251602
Tony Kane28 19117210
Patrick McNally21 61151
Michael Ruddy22 161833
Jonathan Taylor27 20112812
Allan Jenkins34 26718639
Eoin Kane19 101181
Gary Thompson25 21313417
David Cushley26 261122560
Matthew Shevlin17 194235
Matthew Ferguson (sub)20 12 - 18 -
Nathan Hanley (sub)25 7 - 294
Darren Henderson (sub)29 1728023

League Table (as at December 19th, 2015)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 20 16 3 1 34 51
2. Cliftonville 20 13 4 3 13 43
3. Linfield 21 12 4 5 21 40
4. Coleraine 21 12 3 6 8 39
5. Glenavon 21 11 5 5 21 38
6. Glentoran 21 9 6 6 3 33
7. BALLYMENA UTD 21 6 4 11 -13 22
8. Ballinamallard Utd 21 4 4 13 -13 16
9. Dungannon 20 4 3 13 -13 15
10. Carrick 18 3 5 10 -14 14
11. Warrenpoint Town 20 1 2 17 -37 5

* - Table split into two divisions of six.