Ballymena United 0
Linfield 4
League (NIFL Premiership)

Ballymena United
0 - 4

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, January 23rd, 2016
Ballymena Showgrounds
Attendance: 1,702
3:00 PM Kick-off

None. Sean Ward (63)
Ross Gaynor (pen.) (67)
Paul Smyth (72)
Andrew Waterworth (77)

Team Managers
Glenn Ferguson
David Healy

Starting Eleven
18. Alan Blayney
4. Patrick McNally
21. Jim Ervin
2. Tony Kane
3. Stephen McBride
24. Nathan Hanley
10. Allan Jenkins
7. Gary Thompson
15. Eoin Kane
19. Matthew Ferguson
11. David Cushley
Ross Glendinning
Sean Ward
Ross Gaynor
Jimmy Callacher
Matthew Clarke
Reece Glendinning
Mark Stafford
David Kee
Kirk Millar
Andrew Waterworth
Paul Smyth

5. Jonathan Taylor
Leroy Millar
28. Michael Smith
14. Matthew Tipton
16. Matthew Shevlin
Guy Bates
Stephen Fallon
Aaron Burns
Jonathan Frazer
Niall Quinn

Matthew Tipton for Eoin Kane (52)
Matthew Shevlin for Nathan Hanley (61)
Jonathan Taylor for Matthew Ferguson (70)
Guy Bates for Andrew Waterworth (78)
Stephen Fallon for Kirk Millar (84)

Tony Kane (21)
Matthew Ferguson (45)
Gary Thompson (71)
Patrick McNally (81)

Red Cards
Tony Kane (68)
Match Officials

Keith Kennedy (Referee)

Match Report

AFTER a poor first half, Linfield tore Ballymena United apart in the second half with 4 unanswered goals.

Linfield were on the attack right from the first whistle today, a cross from Matthew Clarke deflected behind for a corner which was then cleared by Jim Ervin. Moments later Mark Stafford required treatment after a foul by Nathan Hanley, but he was able to carry on. It took 17 minutes for either side to register a shot on target, Alan Blayney forced into a save from Paul Smyth. On 19 minutes a cross from Reece Glendinning was put behind by Tony Kane for a corner, it was sent in towards Jamie Callacher and blocked by the United defence.

Linfield had another corner in the 25th minute but it was defended well again and led to nothing. Just before the half hour mark David Cushley had the first good chance for the Braidmen but his shot was blocked by Callacher. Moments later Eoin Kane played the ball through to Allan Jenkins whose shot hit the post, but the linesman already had his flag up for offside. Linfield had another chance in the 34th minute through a Mark Stafford header but Blayney pulled out an incredible save to prevent the opening goal.

At the other end Tony Kane took an ambitious swing from 35 yards but it was always going well wide of the mark. On 37 minutes Smyth had another chance saved by Blayney who has been in great form recently. The last action of the first half seen Matthew Shevlin receiving a yellow card from referee Keith Kennedy.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first with Linfield on the attack and Andy Waterworth forcing Blayney into another good save with a swerving shot. It wasn't long before manager Glenn Ferguson made his first change of the game, replacing the limping Eoin Kane with Matthew Tipton in the 51st minute. It took Tipton only 4 minutes to register his first chance, testing Ross Glendinning from distance, the Linfield keeper easily catching it. Moments later Nathan Hanley, who scored the only goal against Carrick on Tuesday night, went close, before Cushley fired over from a half volley.

Just before the hour mark Ross Gaynor tried a long range shot but it went wide of Blayney's post. Nathan Hanley was then replaced by Matthew Shevlin on 61 minutes. The deadlock was broken in the 63rd minute when Sean Ward tapped the ball home after some neat play between Gaynor and Glendinning. Just 4 minutes later Tony Kane was shown a second yellow card after hacking down Smyth and giving away a penalty, which Gaynor put past Blayney. The 3rd goal in the space of 10 minutes was scored by Paul Smyth after some poor defending by Cushley.

Andy Waterworth grabbed the 4th and probably the best goal for the visitors in the 77th minute with a delightful volley which Blayney had no hope of reaching. Linfield had a few more chances before the end of the game, both Matthew Clarke and Paul Smyth going incredibly close to scoring.

Match report written by Paul Irwin

Squad Statistics (as at January 23rd, 2016)

2015-2016 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)34 12 - 50 -
Tony Kane28 25117810
Stephen McBride32 151731
Jim Ervin30 311662
Patrick McNally21 102192
Gary Thompson25 27414018
Nathan Hanley25 101325
Allan Jenkins34 32919241
Eoin Kane20 152232
Matthew Ferguson20 16 - 22 -
David Cushley26 321423163
Jonathan Taylor (sub)27 24113212
Matthew Tipton (sub)35 1886527
Matthew Shevlin (sub)17 244285

League Table (as at January 23rd, 2016)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 24 18 4 2 35 58
2. Cliftonville 25 14 8 3 15 50
3. Linfield 24 15 4 5 28 49
4. Glenavon 24 13 6 5 23 45
5. Coleraine 25 14 3 8 6 45
6. Glentoran 25 9 6 10 -6 33
7. BALLYMENA UTD 25 8 4 13 -16 28
8. Dungannon 23 5 4 14 -12 19
9. Carrick 22 4 7 11 -14 19
10. Ballinamallard Utd 24 4 5 15 -16 17
11. Warrenpoint Town 25 4 4 17 -28 16

* - Table split into two divisions of six.