BALLYMENA UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB || NORTHERN IRELAND
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Date: Saturday, 10th September, 2011; Competition: Carling IFA Premiership 7; Attendance: tbc
CLIFTONVILLE [2] 3
BALLYMENA UNITED [1] 4
Venue: Solitude (Belfast); Kick-Off: 3.00pm; Referee: Raymond Crangle
Goals:
[1-0] SCANNELL, Chris (7 mins)
[1-1] SURGENOR, Mark (23 mins)
[2-1] SCANNELL, Chris (25 mins)
[2-2] KANE, Tony (60 mins)
[3-2] CONVERY, John (61 mins)
[3-3] McCUTCHEON, Gary (70 mins)
[3-4] McCUTCHEON, Gary (86 mins)

BALLYMENA United came from behind three times at Solitude to secure victory in a pulsating Carling IFA Premiership fixture thanks to an 86th minute Gary McCutcheon winner.

It started so badly for the visiting Sky Blues though as Gavin Taggart's inexplicable headed backpass fell short and was latched onto by Cliftonville marksman Chris Scannell who coolly slotted past goalkeeper Aaron Kerr who had returned to the side in favour of Dwayne Nelson.

The Braidmen found an equalizer on 23 minutes when Ally Teggart's fantastic defence splitting pass allowed makeshift striker Mark Surgenor time to race through and slot the ball under former team-mate Ryan Brown in the home goal.

Parity only lasted less than two minutes when it was the ever-dangerous Scannell who grabbed his second of the game looping a header into the top corner with Kerr grasping for air and giving the North Belfast side the lead again.

United hauled themselves back into the game again when former Cliftonville defender Tony Kane fired a deft free-kick around the wall and sent the travelling United contigent into raptures – this was the former Blackburn Rovers player's first goal for Ballymena United.

However, again the United fans had barely sat down before they were behind again. This time confusion reigned in the penalty area when Kerr tangled with a team-mate leaving John Convery on hand to stab home the Reds' third in front of their home supporters.

Heads didn't drop though and for the third time in the game United equalized! A long ball which wasn't dealt with by the home defence was pounced on by the deadly McCutcheon who struck an inch-perfect half volley into the roof of the net giving Brown no chance.

Unlike before, it was the Sky Blues who pushed on an with four minutes remaining it was the Scottish striker McCutcheon who raced free of a static Cliftonville defence and with consummate ease, slipped the ball past Brown before wheeling away to savour the disbelief of his adoring travelling supporters.

The win secures Roy Walker’s 100% away record this season, however improvements will be required at home next week to Coleraine as United are still winless at Warden Street.


Teams:
Cliftonville: Ryan Brown, Liam Fleming, Eamonn Seydak, John Convery, Barry Holland, Stephen Garrett (sub Joe Gormley 84), Ryan Catney, Ciaran Caldwell, Darren Stuart, Chris Scannell, Ronan Scannell (sub Barry Johnston 63). Subs (not used): McVeigh, R. Donnelly, Steele.
Ballymena United: Aaron Kerr, Tony Kane, Richard Vauls, Aaron Stewart, Gavin Taggart (sub Eamonn Murray 78), Gary McCutcheon, Allan Jenkins (c), Alan Teggart (sub Denver Gage 73), Mark Surgenor, Michael Smith (sub Jordan Baker 54), Liam Watson. Subs (not used): Downey, Woods.