Ards 0-1 Ballymena United
By Paul Alexander
Ballymena United edged past Ards with a 1-0 victory at Clandeboye Park on Tuesday evening to enter the Semi-Finals of the BetMcLean League Cup.
Having found a 92nd minute goal in the previous round to help his side into the Quarter-Final stage, Jude Winchester would leave it even later as the Braidmen reached the last four.
Sky Blues striker Adam Lecky had the first significant chance of the tie after 10 minutes when he fended off Adam McAleenan, before seeing his shot gathered by Jason Mooney. Lecky’s strike partner Cathair Friel also cleared the crossbar, after Reece Glendinning’s ball up-field was knocked down, within the opening quarter of an hour.
The best opportunity of the first-half came from Leroy Millar when he struck the crossbar from inside the ‘D’ on the edge of the 18-yard box. Lecky had another chance in the 21st minute, after he was provided with the ball by Friel, which required both hands from Mooney to palm away.
Ballymena continued their attacking creativity seconds after when Millar sent Stephen McCullough’s ball back wide of the right post. The hosts crafted an opening of their own with 29 minutes played when Eamon McAllister’s attempt past the left post. As the cup encounter moved towards the break the visitors resumed their forward play when McCullough’s header from Reece Glendinning’s right wing cross was held by Mooney.
Inside the final two minutes of the opening period the Braidmen continued to apply pressure on the home defence after a promising chance for Winchester. This resulted in Tony Kane trying a shot which would be held by Mooney.
Ards winger David McAllister produced a pleasing effort for his side which Ballymena goalkeeper Ross Glendinning had to direct over the bar four minutes into the second-half. In the following minute Winchester made Mooney make yet another stop at the opposite end of the ground, with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Kane also came close to hitting the net for United with an attempt which rolled just wide of the left post. His 74th minute throw-in on the left eventually reached fellow midfielder Millar who would hit the bar for a second time in the match.
The home side’s penultimate substitute, Marc McKenna, drove forward before putting his shot over as extra-time began to beckon. However there was no need for an additional 30 minutes when an effort from Winchester was deflected into the net in the third and final minute of stoppage time.
Ards: Mooney, McClean, Taylor, McAleenan, Byers [C], J. Kelly, Nelson, D. McAllister (McKenna, 81), E. McAllister (Mitchell, 71), Frazer, Boyd (M. Kelly, 46)
Subs not used: Johnston, Kerr, Cherry, Tommons
Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, McCullough, Addis, Ervin [C], Whiteside, Reece Glendinning (McGrory, 78), Millar, Winchester, Kane (Knowles, 78), Friel (McMurray, 77), Lecky
Subs not used: McCauley, Nolan, Shevlin
Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)
In-Touch Man of the Match: Jude Winchester (Ballymena)
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