Shaun Oneill

Reporter:

Shaun Oneill

Email:

sport@ballymenaguardian.co.uk

Zala Sports Cup Final

All Saints OB ..............................0

Ahoghill Thistle ......................... 1

A Jason Johnston header on his return to Thistle, midway through the first half, was enough for Thistle to edge out Saints, inflicting Saints first domestic defeat, to retain the Zala Sports Cup.

In a scrappy first half affair both sides battled hard for supremacy and it was Thistle who had the first real chance when Johnston cannoned a volley off the crossbar from 18 yards out.

At the other end Liam Cassley outmuscled Alan Norton but his tame effort was saved by Sean Ward.

Thistle then forced a number of set pieces and it was from one of these corners they got the breakthrough.

Ryan Marks swung over a deep corner from the left and found the unmarked Johnston who made no mistake heading home from close range.

This goal rocked Saints as they struggled to get any fluency in their play but they dug in to make sure they did not let Thistle move further in front before the break.The second half saw Saints take the game to Thistle but veteran David Calderwood was superb at the back for Thistle limiting Saints with Sean Ward barely troubled in the early stages of the half.

Thistle had the ball in the net for a second time after the hour mark but Randal Reid was adjudged to be offside.

The introduction of Ryan Wilkinson nd Peter McReynolds from the bench sparked Saints into life again as they went in search of the equaliser and it was Wilkinson who forced a save from Sean Ward when his curling effort was well held by the Thistle stopper.

Brian Paul Donnelly and Wilkinson then both had shots which again Ward kept out and help with Saints men baring down on him. As the game wore into the dying minutes Saints thought they had levelled the game when Barry Hamill stood a ball up at the back post for Donnelly but his header just sneaked wide of the post with Peter McReynolds close to getting a touch on it.

Hamill had the last chance of the game when he hit a brilliant volley from 25 yards out but the ball swerved narrowly wide as Thistle held out to win the cup.After the final whistle Lee Garrett of sponsor Zala Sports handed the Cup over to the winning Ahoghill Thistle Captain David Campbell and the celebrations began.

All Saints OB - Leon Bonnes, Kavan Keenan, Barry Hamill, Emmet Killough, Niall Swann, Chris Wilkinson, Philip Lynn, Ciaran McGarry, Brian Paul Donnelly, Alan Telford, Liam Cassley.

Substitutes – Ryan Wilkinson on for Philip Lynn, Peter McReynolds on for Ciaran McGarry and Ronnie Marshall on for Emmet Killough.

Unused Substitutes – Conan Dunne and Donald Crawford.

Ahoghill Thistle – Sean Ward, Ryan Curry, David Drummond, David Calderwood, Alan Norton, David Campbell, Alan Moore, Ryan Marks, Jason Johnston, Randal Reid, Corey Price.

Substitutes – Paul Aiken on for Alan Moore, Jack Millar on for Randal Reid.

Unused Substitutes – Matthew Boyd, Colin Moore and Gavin Kernohan.

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