Tuesday 3rd October v. Lisburn Distillery (home) - BetMcLean League Cup rd1 - k.o: 7:45pm

Lisburn Distillery Match Preview
Uploaded Wednesday, 25th Jan, 2023 at 08:30

Date: Tuesday, 24th January, 2023; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 701;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Newry City [0] [0]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 20:00;
Referee: Diarmuid Harrigan; Assistant 1: Stephen Donaldson; Assistant 2: Rachel Greer; 4th Official: Christopher Morrison;

BALLYMENA United played out a first goalless draw at the Showgrounds in just shy of ten years in a drab 0-0 draw with Newry City on Tuesday night.
Ahead of a delay of fifteen minutes to kick off due to traffic delaying the arrival of Newry's players and the officials, there were two changes to the United side that was comprehensively outmatched at Linfield on Saturday, as Jack Henderson came in for Joshua Kelly and Michael Place replaced Ryan Waide. After sharing a win a piece in the previous two meetings this season, this was another close encounter between the sides, with a totally eventless opening twenty minutes a sign of things to come.
It took until the twenty-third minute for the first real sign of life with the first shot of the game, but Newry had been on top and Andrew Martin's long-range effort was easy pickings for Sean O'Neill.
A minute later the hosts ventured forward with some purpose when Place won the ball back inside Newry's half and played in David McDaid, but a last-ditch tackle prevented him from getting a shot away.
The quality on show wasn't helping the flow of the game, but neither was a string of stoppages as a number of Newry players went and stayed down, but it was the away side continuing to probably look the more likely out of the two, again without creating anything clear cut.
Towards the end of the half, Dale Montgomery fired well over from well out, before a deflected Noel Healy cross had O'Neill scrambling a tad as it landed on the roof of the net, but a poor half all round ended unsurprisingly scoreless.
The second half couldn't really have been any quieter than the first, and whilst it wasn't far off it, there was more action in the boxes at least. That said, it took until ten minutes in for an effort, the first of a few from Philip Donnelly who came on at the break, but O'Neill saved his curling shot from distance.
Ballymena finally had an effort on goal fifty-six minutes in, and it came courtesy of their brightest spark Place, who looked like one of very few who could make something happen. A really tidy, mazy run down the right ended with Place crossing for Jordan Gibson, but his tame header was held by Steven Maguire in the Newry goal.
After the hour mark, many in the home end thought the deadlock had finally been broken out of nowhere when a curling free kick from Steven McCullough looked to be going in, but instead it drifted just past the post, while at the other end Donnelly almost had Newry ahead when his thundering shot was vitally blocked by Andrew McGrory.
A triple substitution with twenty minutes to go needed to do something to revitalise the hosts, and as Joshua Kelly, Kenneth Kane and Robert McVarnock all entered, the latter's urgency inside a couple of minutes was refreshing to see. A lung busting run from his own half saw McVarnock cross for Gibson, but he saw his shot on the turn blocked just wide.
There was a scare for United when O'Neill collided with Daniel Hughes as the last man just outside the box, but referee Diarmuid Harrigan waved play on, and as Newry protested McDaid almost rubbed salt in the wounds, curling an attempt narrowly wide.
Towards the full time whistle in a game destined to be goalless from the off, it was Newry who put the late pressure on, as Donnelly flicked a header just wide off a corner, before the same man saw a shot from distance tipped over the bar by O'Neill in the dying embers.
Nothing came from the resulting corner, and in the end a matchup bereft of any quality or chances ended level, with Newry fans happy to take an earned point down the road, but for United fans, the lasting memory may only be the ending of the long standing 0-0 record that totalled nearly a decade.
Ballymena United are away to Cliftonville on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Sean O'Neill, Kym Nelson ( Kenneth Kane 68), Douglas Wilson, Scot Whiteside, David McDaid, Steven McCullough ( Joshua Kelly 68), Jack Henderson, Andrew McGrory ( Robert McVarnock 68), Jordan Gibson, Sean Graham, Michael Place.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Ross Redman, Ryan Waide, Craig Farquhar.

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