Ballymena United 0-2 Glentoran
By Paul Alexander
Glentoran inflicted a 2-0 defeat upon second-placed Ballymena United at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon whilst also boosting their own hopes of securing the final Europa League Play-Off place.
The visitors comfortably controlled the opening 45 minutes and were responsible for any noteworthy opportunities during that time. Forward Robbie McDaid had a low, first-time attempt go wide in the third minute before his side stunned the Sky Blues seconds later.
After chasing the ball along the left channel, Glens’ striker Curtis Allen crossed for Paul O’Neill who finished back across goal to give Gary Smyth’s side an early advantage. On six minutes John Herron received the ball back from Luckas Gwiazda, following a Glentoran free-kick, but the former’s resulting effort went wide.
With almost half an hour gone a shot by Chris Gallagher curled away from the target as he tried to add to the one-goal lead. The Glens had another chance inside the last five minutes of the first-half. Allen’s strike soared over the crossbar after James McCarthy’s throw-in had been forwarded on to the 31-year-old.
Ballymena’s Conor Quigley had the home side’s first significant chance after two minutes of the second-half, although Elliott Morris used his legs to block the left wing-back’s effort. Glentoran then threatened at the other end of the pitch but McDaid’s shot on the turn cleared the bar.
United continued their search an equalising goal in the early stages of the half. Albert Watson’s shot curled through a crowded penalty-area on 50 minutes before a further shot by Leroy Millar flew over five minutes after. The away side recorded their second goal in the 60th minute when McDaid finished into the bottom right corner after receiving the ball from the left.
Johnny McMurray tried to pull the Braidmen back into the game, however his shot from the edge of the ‘D’ forced a good save from Morris. The Glens would play the final 17 minutes with 10 men as left-back McCarthy was issued with a red card for a foul on Andy McGrory.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, Watson, Ervin, Whiteside (McGinty, 76), Quigley, McCullough (T. Kane, 67), Millar, McGrory, Balmer (Mayse, 66), Lecky, McMurray
Subs not used: Williamson, Addis, Burns, Shevlin
Glentoran: Morris, McCarthy, M. Kane, Peers, Kerr, Herron, C. Gallagher, Gwiazda, O’Neill (Gordon, 77), Allen, McDaid
Subs not used: McMahon, Henderson, Og Gallagher, Smith, McLaughlin, Wallace
Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)
In-Touch Man of the Match: John Herron (Glentoran)
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