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

Lisburn Distillery Match Preview
Uploaded Saturday, 22nd Apr, 2023 at 19:01

Date: Saturday, 22nd April, 2023; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 450;
Newry City [1] [2]
Ballymena United [1] [2]
Venue: Newry Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Declan Hassan; Assistant 1: Paul Robinson; Assistant 2: Rachel Greer; 4th Official: Ian McNabb;
[0-1] WAIDE, Ryan (6 mins), [1-1] TEELAN, James (42 mins), [1-2] WAIDE, Ryan (65 mins), [2-2] SCULLION, David (67 mins)

A RYAN Waide brace wasn't enough to give Ballymena United three points in their penultimate league game of the season as they drew 2-2 with Newry at the Newry Showgrounds on Saturday.
David Jeffrey made six changes to the starting XI that picked up a first league win in four months last week against Dungannon, including a first start since August for Evan Tweed and a rare start for Andrew McGrory.
With any lingering threat of relegation now gone and just two games out from the Irish Cup final, United started well with any pressure perhaps off and after Steven McCullough sent a free kick over, Ballymena opened the scoring on six minutes through Ryan Waide. McGrory received a throw in back from Michael Place deep inside the Newry half, and his inviting cross from the right was met by Waide who squeezed a tidy header in at the near post.
The hosts hadn't offered much early on, the closest they came coming from Kym Nelson almost heading a corner into his own net, and as the Braidmen kept at it Place looked set to make it 2-0 when he was played in, but he slipped on the difficult surface as he went to shoot.
On twenty minutes came City's first proper chances of the game, as they called Jordan Williamson into action with an incredible double save. Daniel Hughes' header from a free kick pulled a sensational save out of Williamson, but better was to come when the follow up fell to Donal Scullion at point blank range, but somehow Williamson saved again on the floor.
With chances now at both ends and an open game playing out, Nelson thought he'd poked United two clear when he finished McGrory's cross, only for the flag to go up for offside. Shortly afterwards a fantastic touch in the box from Kenneth Kane gave the striker the time and space to make it two, but he scuffed his shot wide, and it was the hosts who then went on to finish the half the far stronger. After a couple of half chances, Darren King got another top save out of Williamson who palmed the Newry skipper's looping header over the bar, but three minutes from the break Newry found a way through.
Hughes' high through ball split United's defence and found James Teelan, but when Williamson chose to come rushing out of his box to meet it, he never looked like he could get there and from thirty yards Teelan looped home into an empty net.
Level at the break was a more than fair representation of the first half with Newry counting Ballymena's strong start with their own strong finish, but at the beginning of the second half if was virtually all the hosts. Plenty of the ball wasn't really translating into plenty of chances, but eventually a very neat one two yielded a chance for Dylan Sloan, but he saw his strong effort again met by the gloves of Williamson. Minutes later Hughes was next to test United's shot stopper from the edge of the box, but Williamson saved again.
With the rain now driving down in Newry and the surface clearly struggling in parts, free flowing football was harder to come by, but on sixty-four minutes a lovely move from the Sky Blues saw them back in front against the run of play. Some nice football down the right was ended with McGrory sliding a ball through for Place, and his cut back from the by line found Waide in the middle, whose assured first time finish into the far corner got him his second of the day.
Disappointingly for the visitors, their lead lasted no more than three minutes as Newry hit back again to make it 2-2 with a key goal in their bid for survival. Ballymena didn't deal with a long ball forward and when Hughes lifted it into the box, Scullion showed great strength to hold off Scot Whiteside before finishing into the bottom corner.
The Braidmen weren't a million miles from retaking the lead just two minutes later as Waide went in search of his hattrick, but fired a tight angled shot wide, and from there that was really it in terms of chances for either team, with the hosts not complaining as results elsewhere meant a point secured their safety.
A double change for United with fifteen minutes to go saw Sean Graham and Evan Tweed replaced by George Tipton and Lewis Tennant, as the latter came on to make his debut for the senior team having come through the Youth Academy.
There would be nothing more to add as it finished 2-2 to spark jubilant scenes for the home side and their supporters at full time, but as for United it was good in spells, not so much in others, with a point a fair reflection in their final away game of the season in the league.
BALLYMENA United host Carrick Rangers in their last league game of the season next Saturday, kicking off at 5:30pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Kym Nelson, Scot Whiteside, Ryan Waide, Steven McCullough, Kenneth Kane, Evan Tweed ( George Tipton 76 80), Andrew McGrory, Sean Graham ( Lewis Tennant 76), Michael Place ( 24), Craig Farquhar.

Subs not used: Sean O'Neill, Ross Redman, Douglas Wilson, Joshua Kelly, Jordan Gibson.

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