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Tuesday 24th October v. Glentoran (home) - Toals Co Antrim Shield QF - k.o: 7:45pm

Uploaded Saturday, 30th Sep, 2017 at 19:01

Date: Saturday, 30th September, 2017; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 2227;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Coleraine [1] [2]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Andrew Davey; Assistant 1: Georgios Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Mark O'Brien; 4th Official: Steven Gregg;
Goals:
[0-1] O'DONNELL, Stephen (32 mins), [0-2] McGONIGLE, Jamie (57 mins)

Coleraine took the derby day bragging rights with a 2-0 win in a fiery contest in Ballymena.
There was an expected large turn out from both sets of supporters and despite a mountain of injuries to content with, United went close to netting inside 3 minutes. An early corner fell to Johnny Flynn and his shot was blocked on the line. The rebound fell to Cathair Friel but he too saw his shot blocked.
The Bannsiders had their first chance on 9 minutes when Jamie McGonigle stood over a free kick, but his effort lacked pace as Conor Brennan easily saved. As Coleraine started to settle Ciaron Harkin had a drilled shot blocked by Michael Gault before Brad Lyons played in Eoin Bradley, but he skied the ball well over. A long throw in from Andrew Burns caused chaos in the Coleraine box, with Friel having a shot blocked before Leroy Millar headed over.
Straight from Chris Johns' long goal kick Lyons went close, his scissor kick effort from the edge of the box dipping just over. Seconds after having a free kick easily saved by Brennan, Lyons was involved again, this time chasing down a loose ball and crossing for an unmarked Bradley, but his header was cleared on the line by Flynn.
With 27 minutes played Coleraine appealed strongly for a penalty when Bradley went down somewhat easily in the box after a tussle with a composed Michael Gault in the box, with nothing given. The away side finally broke the deadlock on 32 minutes. A free kick from Darren McCauley was flicked on by Jim Ervin, with the touch from Ervin playing Stephen O'Donnell onside, and unmarked he headed home past Brennan at the far post.
Shortly after the goal Ballymena had to play a few minutes with 10 men when skipper Ervin took a boot to the head, and had to go off to be bandaged up. In the dying moments of the half Ballymena threathened to equalise. Good link up play between Friel and Conor McCloskey saw the latter cross for Joe McKinney, but he couldn't arrive in time to get a touch on the ball in the 6 yard box. In added time a high cross from McCloskey finally came out of the air but Johns couldn't gather it and it dropped to Tony Kane who headed over. With the last play of the half United had a penalty appeal of their own when Friel went down in the box, but again ref Andrew Davey wasn't interested, instead booking Friel for dissent.
Just like in the first period the sky blues started quickly in the second half. A curling free kick from Millar cleared the wall but just couldn't dip enough to stay under the Coleraine crossbar. Minutes later there was a nervy moment for the visitors when a header back to Johns from David Ogilby almost crossed the line. As Coleraine started to look more dangerous in the half without creating chances, on 57 minutes they scored to double their advantage. Kane was booked for a silly foul and McCauley's cross was headed down by Ian Parkhill to McGonigle, and the Northern Ireland U-21 fired the ball home on the angle.
Within 2 minutes of the visitor's second yet another spot of pin ball in the Coleraine box saw Gary Thompson and Friel go close. Then on 60 minutes came an even stronger United appeal for a penalty. McKinney got the better of Harkin and then appeared to be brought down by the Bannsider in the box, but the referee didn't agree with the home fans. McCloskey then brought a save from Johns with a stinging half volley from outside the box, but the Coleraine 'keeper was never troubled in saving.
It could easily have been 3 to Coleraine on 63 minutes when McGonigle beat the offside trap and burst through. After initially turning Flynn, Ervin was on hand to get his body in the way of the forwards shot. Not for the first time Bradley was again involved in big moments in and around the 70th minute. First up he was played through one on one with Brennan, but the keeper came out on top to make a good save. Then on 76 minutes, yet more great theatrics from Bradley angered United players, causing a scuffle which saw both Burns and McCauley both booked for their parts in it.
It proved to be the last real excitement of the game with Bradley being subbed after sustaining an injury in his tumble. A stabbed, hopeful shot from Kane never caused Johns an issues as he easily gathered in a late attempt which summed up the game as Coleraine easily saw out the 2-0 win in a disappointing day for The Sky Blues.
Ballymena United travel to Stangmore Park next Saturday afternoon to face Dungannon Swifts in the Danske Bank Premiership, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Conor Brennan, Tony Kane ( 56), Johnny Flynn, Michael Gault ( 84), Gary Thompson, Cathair Friel ( 45), Conor McCloskey ( Fra McCaffrey 71 74), Andrew Burns ( 78), Jim Ervin ( 60), Leroy Millar, Joe McKinney ( Willie Faulkner 71).

Subs not used: Ross Glendinning, Steven McCullough, Caolan Loughran.