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

Lisburn Distillery Match Preview
Uploaded Wednesday, 15th Mar, 2023 at 09:12

Date: Tuesday, 14th March, 2023; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 2219;
Glentoran [0] [1]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: The Oval; Kick-Off: 19:45;
Referee: Evan Boyce; Assistant 1: George Argyropoulos; Assistant 2: Stephen Bell; 4th Official: Ben McMaster;
[1-0] PURKIS, Daniel (88 mins)

BALLYMENA United were minutes away from a more than deserved point at the BetMcLean Oval before a late Daniel Purkis goal gave Glentoran a 1-0 win in Belfast on Tuesday evening.
After no game at the weekend, David Jeffrey made three changes from last Tuesday, as suspension and injury ruled out Scot Whiteside and Joshua Kelly, whilst Jack Henderson also dropped out. The three were replaced by Douglas Wilson, Michael Place and Ryan Waide.
With the Glens exiting the Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup and surely league title race within the last couple of weeks, United perhaps sensed half an opportunity in East Belfast, but early on it was the hosts doing all the running as they pegged their visitors back in their own box. With room on the left, Danny Purkis cut in and bent a shot narrowly wide in the game's first chance five minutes in, before Aidan Wilson went extremely close with two headers in as many minutes.
After seeing out Glentoran's early wave of pressure, Ballymena settled into the game and the final half hour of the first half saw nothing to split the sides. Inside four minutes David McDaid found himself denied twice by Wilson blocks in United's first chances. First, he was found by a lovely reverse through ball from Sean Graham, only to see his shot blocked, before a lovely turn in a more solo effort saw McDaid get a shot away in the box, only to be denied again by Wilson. Then, on twenty-three minutes, came a huge opening for the Sky Blues and it again fell McDaid's way. Kenneth Kane did well down the right to swing an inviting ball into the box, but when it was only cleared to McDaid around the penalty spot, in acres of space he skewed a glorious chance wide.
The rest of the half was even without many chances, but United were well in the game now and following on from last week, there seemed to be a conscious attempt to be more progressive in playing out from the back. Towards the end of the half Kane found space from distance before curling a decent effort just over, while at the other end a Niall McGinn cross was flicked onto the top of the crossbar by Purkis, as a competitive half ended level.
Ballymena picked up the second half where they'd left the first and started brightly. Inside five minutes they went close when Kym Nelson smacked a ball across goal and with a split second to think McDaid was able to turn the ball goalwards but over, with United's number 7 doing everything right on the ball all evening, but again just failing to turn some outstanding individual play into goals.
With around an hour to go Glentoran finally turned the pressure up a bit on United as they began to somewhat dominate the ball for periods of time, but more often than not they were met by a wall in Wilson, and more particularly, an outstanding Craig Farquhar. That said, after Conor McMenamin forced Jordan Williamson into a routine save, when the Glens did get in behind, they somehow didn't score. McMenamin's cross was nodded back across the face the goal by Purkis to James Singleton and McGinn who were both waiting on the back post, but Singleton somehow missed the ball when sliding in to finish, putting McGinn off behind him, as the ball rolled past them both and out for a goal kick.
Further chances came as McMenamin struck wide by inches, before a ball over the top looked set to break the deadlock when Purkis latched onto it, but he was denied by a stunning Williamson save, with the goalkeeper simply top drawer throughout the game.
After again seeing out a spell of sustained Glens pressure, United went again with ten to go and created a couple of half chances of their own, as Kane shot straight at Oliver Webber, before substitute Steven McCullough burst forward through the middle, only to scuff a shot wide from distance.
With two minutes left Ballymena looked set to close out a solid night's work with a thoroughly deserved point, only for there to be late heartache. Substitute Andrew McGrory was hesitant in clearing his lines outside the box, allowing Shay McCartan to steal the ball, and he slid a through ball into the box for Purkis, who finished well into the bottom corner.
As the Braidmen threw caution to the wind in five minutes of added time, Glentoran should've had a second as United pushed men forward. Jay Donnelly was played in virtually one on one only for referee Evan Boyce to strangely bring play back for a home free kick, before McMenamin put the ball across goal for Donnelly in a two on one situation, only for Williamson to save brilliantly again.
Ballymena could find no late leveller as they fell to defeat, making it no win in ten league games, as on the night a good showing deserved more, but ultimately saw them again leave with no goals, and no points.
Ballymena United make the trip to Inver Park to face table toppers Larne in the Danske Bank Premiership on Friday evening, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Kym Nelson ( Jordan Gibson 90), Ross Redman ( 45), Douglas Wilson ( 70), David McDaid, Ryan Waide ( Steven McCullough 68), Kenneth Kane, Robert McVarnock, Sean Graham, Michael Place ( Andrew McGrory 74), Craig Farquhar.

Subs not used: Jack Henderson, George Tipton, Lewis Tennant, Nathan Clarke.

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