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Saturday 16th December v. Carrick Rangers (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 7th Oct, 2017 at 20:41

Date: Saturday, 7th October, 2017; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 568;
Dungannon Swifts [0] [2]
Ballymena United [1] [1]
Venue: Stangmore Park; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Keith Kennedy; Assistant 1: Stephen Donaldson; Assistant 2: George Argyropoulos; 4th Official: Neil Robinson;
Goals:
[0-1] MILLAR, Leroy (26 mins), [1-1] McELROY, Paul (pen 65 mins), [2-1] MAYSE, Ryan (68 mins)

TEN man Ballymena United suffered a disappointing Danske Bank Premiership to Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park on Saturday afternoon.
Sky Blues' manager David Jeffrey made four changes to the starting eleven which lost to Coleraine last Saturday with Kyle Owens, William Faulkner, Steven McCullough and Francis McCaffrey all coming back into the team. Jeffrey was also boosted by the return of striker Kevin Braniff to the bench after an injury layoff.
The game itself started a slow burner with minimal chances of note between two evenly matched sides, with the midfield battles key to the early exchanges. Despite the Sky Blues having some of the early positive play, Dungannon forced two decent chances firstly through a Kris Lowe volley which sailed over and then on 23 minutes Jim Ervin was called upon to deny Ryan Mayse at the near post. Ballymena United opened the scoring three minutes later when from a free kick 20 yards out from wide left, Leroy Millar stepped up to curl a low effort past former United stopper Stuart Addis' near post and into the back of the net.
The goal sparked a period of first half dominance for the Braidmen, with Kyle Owens and then Michael Gault not capitalising on their half chances before William Faulkner's header from McCullough's cross on 41 minutes forced Chris Hegarty to a goal-line headed clearance to keep his side in the game going into the break.
Jeffrey's side started the second half in control but found themselves down to ten men after 65 minutes. From Paul McElroy's cross Swifts captain Ryan Harpur drilled an effort at Faulkner from point blank range which cannoned off the winger's thigh then onto his hand. Referee Keith Kennedy immediately pointed the spot and produced a straight red card to the unfortunate Faulkner. McElroy confidently stepped up to drill the resulting penalty past Conor Brennan.
Three minutes later, a shell-shocked Ballymena United went behind when substitute Jarlath O'Rourke's low cross was met by the on-rushing Ryan Mayse who fired home the Swifts' second goal unmarked to turn the game on its head.
On 77 minutes, goal scorer McElroy broke free and fired a stinging effort which Brennan had to be equal to by tipping over the crossbar. From the resulting corner, referee Kennedy adjudged that Brennan's collect of captain Jim Ervin's interception of the ball constituted a pass-back however the home side failed to capitalise on the indirect free-kick from five yards out.
Substitute Kevin Braniff couldn't force a substantial impact following his introduction as he was limited to a stinging half-volley on the turn which was straight at Addis on 88 minutes, it proved to be Ballymena United's final chance of the game as they fell to defeat against the County Tyrone side.
Ballymena United host Portadown in the 3rd round of the BetMcLean League Cup on Tuesday night, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Paul Irwin
Ballymena United Team:
Conor Brennan ( 78), Kyle Owens ( 83), Michael Gault, Gary Thompson, Cathair Friel ( Conor McCloskey 85), Willie Faulkner ( 65), Andrew Burns ( Tony Kane 81 90), Jim Ervin, Steven McCullough, Leroy Millar, Fra McCaffrey ( Kevin Braniff 74).

Subs not used: Ross Glendinning, Johnny Flynn.