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Jude Winchester (90 3)

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Jude Winchester's stoppage time deflected effort earned victory for Ballymena United (©INPHO/Brian Little)

SKY BLUES LEAVE IT LATE TO BOOK SEMI-FINAL BERTH

A stoppage time deflection saw Ballymena United defeat Ards at Clandeboye Park to secure a place in the semi-finals of the BetMcLean League Cup.

Both sides had opportunities in the opening ten minutes. For Ards midfielder Joshua Kelly midirected a backpost volley from David McAllister's cross while, for the visitors, Adam Lecky found himself clear only to send a weak shot straight at keeper Jason Mooney.

Ballymena looked the more likely to score as the game settled, with Cathair Friel firing over from 25 yards before Leroy Millar sent a powerful strike against the crossbar after collecting a Jude Winchester pass.

Lecky came close again soon after while Winchester threatened with two further chances before the break, all proving fruitless.

Ards looked a better prospect early in the second half after David McAllister forced Ross Glendinning to tip over an 18-yard effort. 

But the Sky Blues struck the home woodwork again with Millar suffering frustration for a second time with another shot against the crossbar.

Substitute Marc McKenna might have snatched it for Ards towards the end but could only rifle over from a Jonny Frazer cross.

However, the game was settled right at the death after a Winchester shot took a deflection on its way past Jason Mooney to book a semi-final place for David Jeffrey's side.

Ards: Mooney, E. McAllister, Byers, Taylor, Frazer, D. McAllister, J. Kelly, McClean, Nelson, McAleenan, Boyd subs S. Johnston (not used), Kerr (not used), Cherry (not used), M. Kelly (replaced Boyd 46), Mitchell (replaced E. McAllister 71), Tommons (not used), McKenna (replaced D. McAllister 80)

Ballymena United: Ro. Glendinning, Kane, Addis, Whiteside, Friel, McCullough, Winchester, Ervin, Lecky, Millar, Re. Glendinning subs McCauley (not used), Knowles (replaced Kane 77), Nolan (not used), Shevlin (not used), McGrory (replaced Re. Glendinning 77), McMurray (replaced Friel 77)

Referee: Shane Andrews

Tags:  Ards  Ballymena United