Conor McCloskey (53)
Jonathan McMurray (60)


Robert Garrett (04)


Conor McCloskey celebrates levelling for United (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)


Two goals early in the second half saw Ballymena United come from behind to defeat Linfield at The Showgrounds.

The visitors needed just four minutes to open the scoring after the United defence failed to clear the ball allowing Robert Garrett to send a low, rasping drive from the edge of the area past Ross Glendinning into the bottom corner.

And it was almost 2-0 soon after only for Stephen Lowry's goalbound effort to be cleared off the line by Willie Faulkner while a Kirk Millar shot went a little too high.

At the other end only scrambled clearances kept out shots from Jonathan McMurray and Johnny Flynn, but, five minutes from half-time, Garrett came close to doubling his tally and Linfield's lead only to be denied by a superb diving save from Glendinning.

The Sky Blues levelled eight minutes into the second half when Conor McCloskey sent a curling free-kick from outside the area on the left past Gareth Deane in off the angle of post and crossbar.

Then, on the hour, what proved to be the winner came courtesy of the boot of McMurray after he launched an outstanding 30-yard volley over Deane into the back of the net.

The Blues came close to crafting the leveller when, first, a Jordan Stewart curling shot went the wrong side of the post before a Mark Stafford header was turned away by Glendinning.

Linfield's cause wasn't helped with four minutes remaining when Garrett was dismissed by referee Evan Boyce after collecting a second caution for a challenge on Cathair Friel.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Flynn, Thompson, Friel, McCloskey, Faulkner, Burns, Balmer, Ervin, Millar, McMurray subs Kane (replaced McCloskey 88), Shevlin (not used), McCullough (replaced Flynn 45+2), McCaffrey (replaced Burns 90), McKinney (not used)

Linfield: Deane, Stafford, Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry, J. Stewart, Millar, M. Clarke, Casement, Rooney, Garrett subs Adams (replaced Casement 78), Burns (replaced Rooney 70), Fallon (not used), Mitchell (not used), Quinn (not used)

Referee: Evan Boyce

Attendance: 1921

Match Gallery