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EXPLOSIVE STARTS AND DRAMATIC FINISHES

24 Mar 2021
football
© Stephen Hamilton/INPHO Ballymena United celebrate Conor Keeley's stoppage time winner
A big night of Danske Bank Premiership action produced victories for Ballymena United, Carrick Rangers, Dungannon Swifts and Glentoran while it was honours even at Mourneview Park.
 
The most dramatic finish of the evening came at The Showgrounds as Ballymena United inflicted a 2-1 upon leaders Linfield.
 
Scoreless at the break, Conor Keeley fired the Sky Blues in front midway through the second half only for Andy Waterworth to level for the Blues from the spot with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining. However, Keeley popped up again two minutes into stoppage time to scramble home United's winner, the goal coming just after Joel Cooper had been sent off for the visitors.
 
In contrast to that gripping finish, there was an explosive start at the Loughshore Hotel Arena in a game which saw Carrick Rangers emerge victorious from an eight-goal thriller with Portadown.
 
The Ports got off to a storming opening with Ben Guy and Lee Bonis quickly establishing a two-goal lead as early as the 11th minute.
 
But Daniel Kelly, Cathair Friel and Caolan Loughran responded for Niall Currie's side to give them the lead with just over half-an-hour on the clock.
 
Friel struck again just after the hour, with Kyle Cherry adding a fifth midway through the second half before Adam Salley grabbed Portadown's third late in the game.
 
Coleraine closed the gap at the top by a point after coming from behind to draw with Glenavon at Mourneview Park.
 
Former Bannsider Matthew Fitzpatrick had given the home side the lead from close range early in the second half but it took a deflected Stephen Lowry effort on 76 minutes to earn Coleraine a share of the spoils.
 
Glentoran moved into third spot following victory over Warrenpoint Town at Milltown.
 
Adam Carroll had edge 'Point in front on 54 minutes but the lead only lasted a couple of minutes when Conor McMenamin levelled from the spot, before Jay Donnelly bagged what proved to be the winner late in proceedings.
 
Meanwhile, at Stangmore Park, Dungannon Swifts picked up their first points under recently appointed boss Dean Shiels thanks to a 2-1 defeat of Crusaders.
 
Callum Byers opened the scoring just before the break with Rory Patterson doubling up on 61 minutes but despite Jamie McGonigle pulling one back on 77 minutes the Crues couldn't prevent the Swifts securing a much needed success.