Home News Fixtures Tables Squad Commercial Info History Shop Under 20s
Saturday 23rd March v. Warrenpoint Town (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 14th Apr, 2018 at 22:50

Date: Saturday, 14th April, 2018; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 2440;
Coleraine [0] [1]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: Coleraine Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Keith Kennedy; Assistant 1: Stephen Donaldson; Assistant 2: George Argyropoulos; 4th Official: Raymond Hetherington;
[1-0] McCAULEY, Darren (57 mins)

BALLYMENA United were defeated 1-0 by title chasing rivals Coleraine at the Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
Expectedly the home side had more of the ball early on and called Ross Glendinning into action 6 minutes in. Stephen O'Donnell met a corner from Josh Carson but he failed to get a clean contact and Glendinning easily gathered. United first threatened on 7 minutes when the now departing Kyle Owens got on the end of a Tony Kane cross but Chris Johns got down easily to stop it with Matthew Shevlin lurking.
Straight up the other end Glendinning pulled off a terrific save to deny Jamie McGonigle. From a quick counter attack Stephen Dooley released McGonigle one on one with the Sky Blue 'keeper but Glendinning saved extremely well with his leg. The next chance also came the way of the hosts. The dangerous Darren McCauley slipped in Eoin Bradley with his high shot making Glendinning save well again, this time tipping the ball over the bar.
United were by no means being outclassed but it was Coleraine who were creating the chances as McGonigle teed up McCauley, but he blazed the ball wide. On 36 minutes Coleraine almost went ahead. A nice move saw Dooley, Ciaron Harkin and Lyndon Kane linking up before the latter had a low, dangerous drilled ball deflect inches wide. In added time at the end of the first half the returning Kevin Braniff tried his luck from all of 30 yards after finding space but it went well wide as the half ended goalless.
The second period went mostly the way of the first with Coleraine looking the more threatening without really sustaining pressure on the Braidmen's goal. The first effort on either goal came 9 minutes in with O'Donnell again meeting a cross but this time it went high and wide.
The only goal of the game came on 56 minutes. Fra McCaffrey lost the ball in midfield and it was picked up by McCauley who drilled a low shot perfectly into the bottom corner past Glendinning in front the large home support.
With 25 minutes left David Jeffrey made a double change with Johnny Flynn and Willie Faulkner replacing Andrew Burns and McCaffrey respectively. Minutes after the changes a cross from Kane only needed a touch to trouble Johns but Owens couldn't quite reach it and Johns gathered.
Within a minute of United's chance Aaron Traynor picked up on a Flynn mistake and played a neat one-two with McCauley with the latter striking just over. On 77 minutes Traynor had a chance of his own, this time O'Donnell turning provider with Traynor narrowly sending the ball over the bar.
Ballymena came on strong in the final 10 minutes as they looked to severely dent their rivals title hopes. Cathair Friel did well to get to the by-line and his cross was just too high for Shevlin before Faulkner had a shot blocked. As the board went up for 3 minutes of added time most of the away end thought the Sky Blues had levelled as a free kick from Kane looked to have gone in but instead had hit the side netting.
There was more drama to come as Carson received a straight red card for an extremely rash challenge on Faulkner, who was booked for his reaction to the poor tackle. The free kick gave United another chance to get the ball in and Stephen McAlorum had a cross/shot tipped over the bar by Johns. The resulting corner was cleared at the second attempt as Coleraine held on for the win, with Ballymena unfortunate not to level in front a large and loud away support.
Ballymena United travel to Mourneview Park to face Glenavon next Saturday, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Kyle Owens, Stephen McAlorum ( 53), Cathair Friel, Kevin Braniff ( Leroy Millar 73), Andrew Burns ( Johnny Flynn 64), Matthew Shevlin ( 42), Jim Ervin, Fra McCaffrey ( Willie Faulkner 64 90), Conor Quigley.

Subs not used: Adam McCracken, Fra Nolan.