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

Lisburn Distillery Match Preview
Uploaded Friday, 17th Feb, 2023 at 23:11

Date: Friday, 17th February, 2023; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1838;
Ballymena United [1] [1]
Glentoran [1] [3]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Evan Boyce; Assistant 1: George Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Stephen Bell; 4th Official: Ben McMaster;
[1-0] GRAHAM, Sean (28 mins), [1-1] DONNELLY, Jay (42 mins), [1-2] DONNELLY, Rory (56 mins), [1-3] DONNELLY, Rory (58 mins)

TWO second half Glentoran goals in as many minutes did for Ballymena United as they lost 3-1 to the Glens at the Showgrounds on Friday night.
United made two changes from the midweek defeat to Carrick Rangers, as Jordan Williamson came back in to replace Sean O'Neill in goals, whilst Sean Graham returned from suspension to take the place of Douglas Wilson.
With no wins, or goals, in their last five league outings, and taking on a resurgent Glens since the appointment of Rodney McAree, United were always going to have a hard night ahead of them, but they came out fighting with a strong first half showing, after seeing out early visiting pressure.
Inside two minutes, Rhys Marshall's deep cross was narrowly missed at the back post by Jay Donnelly, before ten minutes later, a scramble in the box following a corner ended with Michael Place making a vital goal line clearance to keep the scores level.
Eventually, Ballymena worked their way into the game and in the final twenty-five minutes of the half there was little to split the sides. The Braidmen's first chance was a golden one when Ryan Waide, a real bright spark in the first half, chipped a cross from the by-line onto the head of a free Graham little more than six yards out, but he was denied by a stunning one-handed Aaron McCarey save.
On twenty-eight minutes the Sky Blues' hard work was rewarded by the game's opening goal, as United finally broke their goal drought to lead. It all started with a free kick for Glentoran in a great position, but after Shay McCartan had fired straight into the wall, a thumped clearance away was miscontrolled by Aidan Wilson on the halfway line. Wilson's poor touch allowed Graham to pounce, but with it all to do, he ran the length of the half, before showing remarkable calmness and composure to slot the ball past McCarey for 1-0.
Three minutes after the goal, the Glens should've been level when a nice move ended with Terry Devlin playing in McCartan, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over against his old club.
As United continued to frustrate their opponents, who could find next to no way through a stubborn home side, who also carried plenty of threat going forward, Ballymena looked good value for a half time lead, until they conceded a poor leveller two minutes from the break. Marcus Kane and Rory Donnelly combined down the left, but the latter's cross was completely missed by Ross Redman as he went to clear it, allowing the ball to get through to Jay Donnelly at the back post, who couldn't miss, as a well contested half ended level.
The timing and nature of the equalising goal will have no doubt frustrated the United dugout, but that frustration grew when after a strong opening ten minutes to the second half, in which they put plenty of pressure on the Glens' back line, Ballymena conceded two hugely disappointing goals in two minutes to take the game beyond them. The first came on fifty-six minutes when another cross, this time Conor McMenamin's, was met at the back post by Wilson who beat Jordan Gibson to it, and his knock across goal left Rory Donnelly with a tap in.
The third goal minutes later came again from a cross that was defended with more untidiness from the hosts. United felt aggrieved at the awarding of a Glentoran free kick, but McMenamin's ball in prompted a messy Ballymena response, and it dropped for Rory Donnelly who easily put away his quickfire second.
Those two quick goals killed United, and the remaining half hour saw Glentoran ease home in second gear. There was little by way of chances, but there didn't really need to be for the visitors as Ballymena just couldn't find anything to trouble the Belfast side, who almost made it four when McCartan fired over.
The final fifteen minutes rather petered out in the heavy rain on Warden Street, and whilst United keep it at, nothing was happening, whilst at the other end Hrvoje Plum hit a free kick straight at Williamson, and Danny Purkis had a late finish flagged for offside.
3-1 is how it finished, with a solid first half showing from United matched by a poor second in which they caused their own downfall at times, as they suffer another defeat ahead of a tough run of fixtures.
Ballymena United host Larne at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening in the Danske Bank Premiership, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Kym Nelson, Ross Redman, Scot Whiteside, Joshua Kelly, Ryan Waide ( George Tipton 88), Steven McCullough ( 43), Jack Henderson, Jordan Gibson ( Kenneth Kane 71), Sean Graham, Michael Place ( Robert McVarnock 81).

Subs not used: Marcus Thompson, Andrew McGrory, David Taylor, Craig Farquhar.

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