NOTHING BETWEEN SKY BLUES AND 'STUTE AT THE SHOWGROUNDS
A penalty in each half told the tale of this draw between Ballymena United and Institute at The Showgrounds.
A quiet start saw the first effort of note not being created until around a quarter-of-an-hour had elapsed when Jim Ervin tested 'Stute keeper with an effort from outside the box.
The visitors then threatened through Joe McCready with a free-kick and a Conor Tourish header which was cleared off the line.
'Stute moved in front on 29 minutes when Gareth Brown was taken down inside the area by Ervin with McCready stepping up to beat Ross Glendinning from the spot into the corner.
The Sky Blues levelled five minutes after the break with the second penalty of the game awarded after keeper Rory Brown had clipped Adam Lecky following a mix-up in defence, which Andy McGrory duly converting with a strong finish down the middle.
Buoyed by this, Ballymena applied increased pressure with Lecky seeing a header well saved by Brown before Evan Tweed made a timely intervention to steal the ball away from the poised foot of Kenny Kane.
There were chances at either end late in the game.
'Stute were denied by a great stop from Glendinning on 83 minutes when he was at full stretch to keep out Tourish's well struck drive while, a couple of minutes from time, Shane McGinty almost snatched it for Ballymena with a left-foot effort from Ross Lavery's cross only for the ball to crash back off the crossbar.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Addis, McGinty, McCullough, K. Kane, Andrew Burns, Carville, McGrory, Winchester, Ervin, Lecky subs Williamson (not used), T. Kane (replaced Carville 75), Mayse (not used), Knowles (not used), Balmer (not used), Glendinning (not used), Lavery (replaced K. Kane 62)
Institute: R. Brown, McLaughlin, D. Curry, Grace, Tourish, G. Brown, McCready, McCauley, Tweed, Crown, McNamee subs Wells (not used), Scoltock (not used), J. Morrow (not used), McIntyre (replaced McNamee 68), Leppard (not used), McGurk (replaced G. Brown 82), Bradley (replaced Tweed 84)