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Uploaded Wednesday, 22nd Feb, 2023 at 08:50

Date: Tuesday, 21st February, 2023; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1156;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Larne [1] [3]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Declan Hassan; Assistant 1: David Burns; Assistant 2: Brian Wilson; 4th Official: Diarmuid Harrigan;
[0-1] BONIS, Lee (40 mins), [0-2] WAIDE, Ryan (og 47 mins), [0-3] RYAN, Andrew (73 mins)

BALLYMENA United's recent struggles continued as they were well beaten in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to league leaders Larne at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
After Friday night's defeat at The Showgrounds to Glentoran, David Jeffrey made two changes for the visit of Larne, as David McDaid returned from injury to replace Jordan Gibson, while Douglas Wilson was back from suspension to replace Ross Redman.
Having picked up a few big results against top six sides at home already this season, Ballymena needed another one here against their rivals who were looking to open up a six-point lead at the top, and the opening half hour was a fairly even one all things considered. Any early chances were half ones at best but came mostly Larne's way, as Cian Bolger headed over, Lee Bonis fired high and wide from distance and Jordan Williamson made a good save down low to his right following a header, but it was difficult to tell who had directed it goalwards.
Despite being far from blown away, United struggled to really get near the visitor's box, and in truth a chance for McDaid was the only real shot at goal they had all night. Some good play down the left saw Ryan Waide tee up Steven McCullough for a dangerous cross to a free McDaid at the back post, but he couldn't quite direct his headed goalward, as it flew well wide.
As the half went on Larne began to assert more dominance, still without giving Williamson much food for thought, but five minutes before the break, they had a breakthrough. A quick throw in down the left was into the path of Andrew Ryan and as he got to the by-line he cut the ball back into the box for Bonis, who slammed home the opener.
The Braidmen may have had a right to feel disappointed to not be level going into the break, but the second half started in disastrous fashion as Larne doubled their lead inside a minute, to take control of a half in which the hosts didn't threaten at all. An early corner from Joe Thompson was flicked on by Bonis, but in a rather unlucky turn of events, his flick ricocheted off Waide, who knew little about it, and into the net for an own goal.
A couple of minutes later it was nearly three when a sliced half volley from Tomas Cosgrove flew into the side netting, but as the half progressed, while there wasn't an abundance of Invermen chances, they were cruising along with United simply unable to find a response.
Albert Watson went close with a header before Ballymena made a triple change to try and inject some life into a game that really was just sliding away, as Kenneth Kane, Jordan Gibson and Robert McVarnock were all introduced.
With seventeen minutes left, if a United comeback had looked unlikely before, it certainly did now as Larne extended their lead with a third. Some slack play saw Leroy Millar, making his return to Warden Street for the first time since making the move over Shanes Hill, dispossess Gibson close to his own box, and after finding Cosgrove on the overlap, his cross was met by the Scotsman Ryan, who easily converted at close range.
That truly was it in terms of a contest with virtually nothing happening in the final fifteen minutes, bar the introduction of George Tipton and Craig Farquhar, in a switch that marked a league debut for the centre half Farquhar.
Larne cantered home then to take three points back down the road, on a night were United just couldn't trouble the Inver Reds at all, as the winless league run stretches to seven games ahead of Saturday's visit of Crusaders.
Ballymena United host Crusaders in the Danske Bank Premiership on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Author Name
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Kym Nelson, Douglas Wilson ( Craig Farquhar 76), Scot Whiteside, David McDaid ( Jordan Gibson 68), Joshua Kelly ( 51 George Tipton 76), Ryan Waide ( Kenneth Kane 68), Steven McCullough, Jack Henderson, Sean Graham, Michael Place ( 37 Robert McVarnock 68).

Subs not used: Marcus Thompson, Ross Redman.