Mark Kelly (27)


James Knowles (56)
Shane McGinty (76)


James Knowles levelled for Ballymena early in the second half (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)


Ballymena United fought back from a goal down to secure an away win over Ards and move into third spot in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The opening quarter-of-an-hour was an evenly matched affair with neither side having any clear cut chances.

Perhaps the first effort of note came on 19 minutes when, from a James Knowles corner, Andrew Burns could only fire over from a few yards out.

But the deadlock was broken on 27 minutes in Ards' favour through Mark Kelly after he made the most of some sloppy defending to deflect a Josh Kelly the ball past Ross Glendinning.

Ballymena came closest to levelling before the break when, following a scramble in the box from a Knowles free-kick, Jude Winchester could only turn the ball wide.

However, the Sky Blues did get back on level terms on 56 minutes when a Knowles strike from outside the box took a slight deflection past Sam Johnston into the top right corner.

Buoyed by this United pushed to take the lead. Ryan Mayse went close with a flick just past the post, while Andrew McGrory produced a good block from Johnston followed by another save to deny a Steven McCullough left-foot strike.

Ballymena's seemingly inevitable winner eventually came with just under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when Mayse pulled the ball back for substitute Shane McGinty to rifle into the top corner.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Ards: Johnston, Kerr, Byers, Taylor, Frazer, Cherry, M. Kelly, D. McAllister, J. Kelly, Tommons, McClean subs E. McAllister (replaced J. Kelly 77), McLellan (replaced M. Kelly 66), Mitchell (replaced Kerr 90), Nelson (not used), Mooney (not used), Brown (not used), McAleenan (not used)

Ballymena United: Ro. Glendinning, Addis, Whiteside, Mayse, Knowles, McCullough, Faulkner, Burns, McGrory, Winchester, Lecky subs McDermott (not used), Kane (replaced Knowles 85), McGinty (replaced Faulkner 70), Shevlin (replaced Lecky 66), Ervin (not used), Millar (not used), Re. Glendinning (not used)

Referee: Keith Kennedy

Attendance: 602

Tags:  Ards  Ballymena United