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Coleraine Match Preview

Uploaded Saturday, 25th Jan, 2020 at 19:09

Date: Saturday, 25th January, 2020; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1121;
Crusaders [0] [2]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: Seaview; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Raymond Crangle; Assistant 1: Kristian Hanna; Assistant 2: Mark O'Brien; 4th Official: Peter McGrath;
[1-0] CADDELL, Declan (71 mins), [2-0] CLARKE, Ross (85 mins)

TWO second half goals were enough to give Crusaders a 2-0 victory over Ballymena United at Seaview on Saturday afternoon.
In what was his 200th game in charge of the Sky Blues, David Jeffrey made numerous changes from Tuesday night's heart-breaking Toals Co. Antrim Shield final loss, including Ross Glendinning coming back in to take the gloves.
It was ropey start to proceedings on the Shore Road for the visitors as inside three minutes Jordan Forsythe landed a shot on the roof of the net before Philip Lowry missed a huge chance after he was played through 1 on 1 by Paul Heatley. After those early openings United settled into the game well and despite doing nothing to really challenge Gerard Doherty in the Crues' goal, the away side were seeing plenty of the ball.
Crusaders weren't doing much with the ball themselves, with a long range deflected shot from Jamie McGonigle, that was comfortably dealt with by Glendinning, their only real effort on goal in the last twenty minutes of the half. As is so often the case, Jordan Owens was the target man for The Crues but he was well marshalled by Scot Whiteside and Jonny Addis to limit Crusaders.
After Crusaders' flurry of chances in the opening three minutes, it was the Braidmen's turn to do the same at the very end of the half in what was an exciting ending to a rather pedestrian half. Ballymena's chance of the game fell to Josh Kelly when Declan Caddell failed to clear his lines, but from six yards out and unmarked Kelly somehow fired wide. Not long after Cathair Friel cut inside from the left and saw an effort deflect just wide of the top corner before the resulting corner was headed over by Whiteside, as an even half ended goalless.
Similarly to the first half, United were slow out of the gates in the second forty five and, after Leroy Millar missed the ball completely when trying to clear a set piece, Caddell's shot was well gathered by Glendinning.
Having more than matched their title chasing hosts in the first half, Ballymena were struggling to do the same second half, but around the hour mark they did have two decent attempts. The first came from Kelly who did well to create space for a shot, but slightly off balance on the edge of the box his shot went narrowly wide. In the next play Friel did great work down the left hand side and cut the ball back for Andy McGrory, whose effort looked certain to go in before Doherty made an outstanding save to put the ball onto the post.
Despite having more and more of the ball, Crusaders still weren't giving United's back line a whole lot of trouble until Glendinning was hesitant in coming for a ball that allowed Lowry to get a shot away, but Glendinning recovered to save well.
Crusaders then broke the deadlock with Tony Kane looked to have been fouled by Ross Clarke, but referee Raymond Crangle wasn't interested and Forsythe's cross was headed home by the unmarked Caddell.
Ballymena were unable to really threaten an equaliser and on 84 minutes Crusaders made sure of the win to take them top of the league. The Crues won a free kick twenty five yards from goal and Clarke sent it up and over the wall and into the net passed Glendinning who could only stand and watch.
A fifth straight league defeat for Ballymena brings an end to a miserable January, with attention now turning to next Saturday's Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup sixth round tie with Warrenpoint.
Ballymena United travel to Milltown Playing Fields next Saturday to face Warrenpoint Town in the sixth round of the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Author Name
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Jonathan Addis ( 87), Scot Whiteside, Cathair Friel, Andrew McGrory, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar, Reece Glendinning, Aaron Burns, Joshua Kelly.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, James Knowles, Steven McCullough, Kenneth Kane, Declan Carville, Jude Winchester, Ross Lavery.