Danske Bank Premiership
Ballymena United ................1
Linfield ............................... 2
BALLYMENA United gave everything on Tuesday night at the Showgrounds – but still left empty handed.
“Linfield started very brightly and went two goals ahead. Our heads never dropped. We showed great character and excellent response. We got a super goal from Adam Lecky after superb vision by Jonathan Addis,” summed up United manager David Jeffrey after the game.
“I thought in the second half we were the dominant side. But dominance does not win you games. You have got to put the ball in the back of the net. And we had four or five really good chances. And with a bit of fortune on another night they would have gone in the back of the net.”
Jeffrey said he was frustrated with the result but was proud of his players in terms of their performance levels.
“At the very least we deserved a point,” said Jeffrey.
Linfield had sub Bastien Hery sent off in injury time for kicking out at United defender Koki Balmer. It was his second bookable offence.
And as the minutes ticked down Shane McGinty and Ross Lavery came so close to grabbing United a deserved draw.
Linfield went ahead in the 10th minute, Kirk Millar in the right place to touch home after good work by Shayne Lavery.
Two minutes later at the other end United’s Tony Kane sent a free kick wide of the target.
On the half hour Linfield flying machine Joel Cooper was allowed to run the length of the pitch before sending a chipped effort well wide.
Linfield’s Stephen Fallon saw his shot on target being palmed past for a corner by United ‘keeper Ross Glendinning.
The visitors added a second in the 37th minute, Millar’s corner being firmly headed home by Ryan McGivern.
But United hit back two minutes later, striker Adam Lecky thumping in after a superb through pass from Johnny Addis which split the Linfield defence.
Ten minutes into the second half big Declan Carville knows he should have touched in the equaliser past ‘keeper Rohan Ferguson from point blank range, but he got his feet in a tangle and the chance was missed.
Linfield sub Hery darted through and Glendinning made another top save. Two minutes later the Linfield man was booked for pulling Carville’s jersey as he sped forward.
In added on time Hery kicked out at Balmer and received his second yellow followed by a red.
Battling Ballymena kept pressing and McGinty’s shot was palmed away by Ferguson and sub Lavery almost got the equaliser, but the Linfield ‘keeper gathered his shot on goal.
Ballymena United – Glendinning, T. Kane (Knowles, 82), Addis, McGinty, McCullough, K. Kane, Carville (Lavery, 77), McGrory, Balmer, Ervin, Lecky.
Subs not used – Williamson, Mayse, Reece Glendinning, Brown, Warnock.
Linfield – Ferguson, Robinison, Callacher, Waterworth (Clarke, 65), Cooper, Millar, Lavery, Fallon (Hery 71), Mulgrew, McGivern, Mitchell.
Subs not used – Moore, Shevlin, Stewart, Reynolds, Casement.
Referee – Mr. Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey).