Adam Lecky completed the scoring for Ballymena United (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)
Saturday, 29 December 2018
Ballymena United go into the New Year on top of the Danske Bank Premiership following victory over Newry City at The Showgrounds.
Despite how it ended, Newry started the brighter of the two sides and almost opened the scoring as early as the third minute when Stephen Teggart burst into the box only for Ross Glendinning to react quickly to smother the ball.
As the game progressed the league leaders began to find their feet with Ryan Mayse seeing an effort saved and another fall just wide after clipping the outside of an upright.
Then, just before the break, Cathair Friel missed a gilt-edged opportunity when, from around five yards out, he failed to hit the target after Shane McGinty drilled a cross over from the wing.
However, Friel went one better ten minutes into the second half when he made no mistake tucking the ball away after a Jude Winchester shot had been blocked.
Newry levelled on 64 minutes, however, through Mark McCabe after his low shot crept past Glendinning when the home defence failed to clear.
But the Sky Blues regained the advantage not long after that after Mayse rifled a shot past Steven Maguire after the City rearguard also failed to defend.
And it got worse for the visitors a couple of minutes later when they were reduced to ten men when Declan Carville was dismissed for a challenge on Winchester, thus picking up his second caution of the game.
United pressed to kill the game off, almost grabbing a third when Jonathan McMurray rattled the crossbar from a Jim Ervin pass after spotting Maguire off his line.
Goal number three did arrive, however, on 82 minutes when Steven McCullough whipped a corner into the box for Lecky to flick the ball home.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Addis, Mayse, McGinty, Friel, McCullough, Balmer, Winchester, Ervin, Lecky, McMurray subs McDermott (not used), Quigley (not used), Whiteside (not used), Faulkner (replaced McGinty 86), Nolan (replaced Lecky 89), Shevlin (replaced Mayse 86)
Newry City: Maguire, Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Carville, McCabe, Lavery, Rushe, Teggart, Montgomery, Healy subs Hunter (not used), M. Hughes (not used), Johnston (replaced Rushe 87), Delaney (replaced McCabe 72), Mullen (replaced Noonan 90+3), Curran (not used)
Referee: Lee Tavinder
|Darragh Noonan||90 +3|
|Neil Mullen||90 +3|