Willie Faulkner (33)
Tony Kane (53p)

2

Willie Faulkner opened the scoring for Ballymena United (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)

UNITED OFF TO WINNING START

Ballymena United kicked off the new Danske Bank Premiership season with a confident defeat of Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

The visitors might have broken the deadlock as early as the fourth minute when a mix-up in the Dungannon defence almost allowed Swifts old boy Ryan Mayse in but his effort fell just wide of the target.

Rodney McAree's side responded with a couple of half chances from Cormac Burke while Mayse and then Johnny McMurray threatened at the other end.

However, just after the half-hour mark, United moved in front through William Faulkner after he dinked the ball over keeper Alex Moore following a perfectly delivered pass from Steven McCullough.

Burke looked to fashion an equaliser for Dungannon early in the second half only to see his shot from distance go wide, followed soon after by Daniel Hughes finding himself through on goal but he couldn't keep control of the ball to beat Ross Glendinning.

Then, on 53 minutes, the Sky Blues doubled their advantage when Mayse was brought down inside the box by Chris Hegarty with Tony Kane confidently stepping forward to convert from the spot.

And the Swifts ended the game with ten men when Hegarty received a second caution for a late challenge on Mayse.

Substitute Marcio Soares might have marked his Swifts debut with a goal late in the game when he pounced on a moment of confusion but could only flash his shot across the face of goal.

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Dungannon Swifts: Moore, Dykes, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Hughes, McMullan, O'Rourke, Lowe, Burke, Hutchinson subs Addis (not used), Teggart (replaced Hutchinson 36), Soares (replaced Burke 71), McGinty (not used), Coyle (replaced Wilson 64), Campbell (not used), Smyth (not used)

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Kane, Addis, Whiteside, Mayse, McCullough, Faulkner, Burns, McGrory, Winchester, McMurray subs McDermott (not used), McGinty (replaced Mayse 76), Knowles (replaced Winchester 70), Nolan (not used), Ervin (not used), Lecky (replaced McMurray 70), Millar (not used)

Referee: Jamie Robinson

Attendance: 878