Ballymena go top after Cliftonville draw

Published Tuesday, 02 September 2014
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Ballymena United leap-frogged Cliftonville in the league after a 2-1 win against Institute at the Showgrounds on Tuesday evening, while the Reds could only draw against Linfield.

Ballymena go top after Cliftonville draw
Chris Curran rues a missed chance against Linfield. (© Presseye)

Glenn Ferguson's side put Saturday's defeat at Glenavon behind them after coming from behind to claim all three points.

Stephen O'Flynn had given Institute a shock lead inside two minutes but Alan Taggart brought the sides level on 26 minutes.

It was a well-worked goal with Gavin Taggart's cross falling to Alan Teggart and after beating his marker he gave Eugene Ferry no chance with a superb strike that flew into the net.

Ten minutes into the second half Taggart grabbed his and Ballymena's second of the night when he drilled his spot kick past Ferry.

The hotly disputed penalty awarded after Stephen McBride went down under a challenge from Stephen Curry on the edge of the box.

Cliftonville dropped down into second spot, just a point behind Ballymena after their clash with Linfield ended scoreless at Solitude.

The champions dominated most of the first half but failed to make their chances count with Joe Gormley and Chris Curran both failing to add the finish when a goal seemed likely.

Warren Feeney's side came more into the game in the second half with Stephen Lowry and Aaron Burns going close and then Ivan Sproule set up Sammy Morrow with a great run but Barry Johnston made a brilliant challenge to clear the danger.

Both teams went for the all-important winner and there was some frantic defending in the Linfield box as Chris Hegarty closed down Johnston and then Jamie Richards made a last gasp tackle to deny Garrett from a certain strike on goal.

Clilftonville thought they had won it near the end when Johnny Flynn got the final touch to beat goalkeeper Johnny Tuffey to the ball but Mark Haughey got back in the nick of time to clear off the line.

Biggest winners of the night were Crusaders who hit the goal trail at Coleraine eventually winning 6-2 at The Showgrounds.

It was a superb display from Stephen Baxter's side who gave Coleraine a roasting on their home patch.

Paul Heatley opened the scoring on 11 minutes after being played in by Jordan Owens. On 32 minutes it was 2-0 with the same combination involved and Heatley on target.

It didn't get any better in the second half for the home side as Gavin Whyte hit a sweet volley home to make it 3-0.

Three minutes later it was 4-0 as Gary McCutcheon converted from the penalty spot after Heatley had been brought down by Canning.

The Bannsiders managed to pull a goal back on 64 minutes through Ian Parkhill, but it was soon 5-1 with Owens getting the final touch from close range.

David Ogilby clawed another one back for Coleraine but there was no stopping the slick Crues who made it 6-2 near the end thanks to well struck shot from Diarmuid O'Carroll.

Glentoran and Portadown had to settle for a share of the spoils after their entertaining clash ended 1-1 at The Oval.

The Ports made the better start with Mark McAllister and Chris Casement carving out an early chance but goalkeeper Aaron Hogg did well to prevent Sean Mackle from cashing in on their good work.

Glens defender Calum Birney was alert to clear the danger and the ball as McAllistair was about to shoot after being played in by Peter McMahon.

However, the Glens hit the front on 15 minutes with David Scullion quick to pounce after keeper David Miskelly pushed out an effort from Fra McCaffrey.

Hogg helped protect this lead on 23 minutes with a superb save as he kept out a header from Gary Breen.

Another chance fell to the visitors soon after when McAllister set up Casement but he somehow failed to hit the target from close range.

Hogg was called upon again as he produced another save seven minutes from the break when kept out a volley from Peter McMahon.

The Ports pressure finally paid off when the dangerous McAllister was brought down in the box by Birney and referee Andrew Davey awarded the penalty.

Darren Murray kept his composure and levelled the scores as he thumped the ball past Hogg.

McAllister almost fired Ronnie McFall's men ahead with an effort that flew inches wide and then at the other end Curtis Allen crossed for Scullion who thought he had scored his second of the night only to be denied by Miskelly.

Hogg was to have the final say as he ensured a point for the Glens with another stunning save to prevent Robert Garret from grabbing a late winner for the Ports.

Kevin Braniff's first goal for Glenavon proved the match winner as the Lurgan Blues made it two wins from two by defeating Ballinamallard 1-0 at Mourneview Park.

The decisive goal arrived five minutes after the restart after a long throw-in from Gareth McKeown was flicked on and it fell perfectly for Braniff who was lurking unmarked at the back post and he drilled the ball hard and low past Fergal Murphy.

Glenavon had been pressing hard throughout the first half but could not provide the cutting edge while goalkeeper Alan Blayney prevented United from taking the lead with a fine save to deny Johnny Lafferty.

Gary Hamilton's side looked the more likely to score again with Andy Kilmartin, Ciaran Martyn and Braniff all going close.

Ballinamallard did have the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside.

In the end a comfortable win and three points for the home side.

Warrenpoint Town claimed their win of the season with a 2-0 win over Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

A controversial Stephen Hughes penalty and a late Ciaran O'Connor goal gave Barry Gray's side all three points.

Dungannon had created most of the first half chances but failed to make them count while Josh Barton was unlucky to see his shot hit the woodwork.

However, the Swifts were punished two minutes after the restart when Brennan was penalised for pulling back O'Connor in the box, a disputed penalty was awarded but Stephen Hughes was not put off and he made no mistake from the spot to fire the visitors ahead.

That goal gave Warrenpoint the edge and they went on to secure an away win when Ciaran O'Connor added a second deep in added time.


Danske Bank Premiership results:

Ballymena United 2-1 Institute
Ballymena: Teggart (26, pen 65)
Institute: Flynn (2)
Cliftonville 0-0 Linfield
Coleraine 2-6 (six) Crusaders

Coleraine: Parkhill (64) Ogilby (73)
Crusaders: Heatley (11, 32), Whyte (50), McCutcheon (pen 53) Owens (71) O'Carroll (89)
Dungannon Swifts 0-2 Warrenpoint Town
Warrenpoint: Hughes (pen 46), O'Connor (90+5)
Glenavon 1-0 Ballinamallard United
Glenavon: Braniff (50)
Glentoran 1-1 Portadown
Glentoran: Scullion (15)
Portadown: Murray (pen 40)

© UTV News
Comments Comments
S.B. in Belfast wrote (146 days ago):
Andy, I was at the game as well and there WAS some nasty singing from BOTH sides. I have to say it did seem to be a very small minority in the top corner of the main stand amongst our fans and there was an very audible Linfield element who belted out some sectarian nonsense too. The only time I hear this stuff now is at the Reds/Linfield games when they draw people from both sides who are nowhere to be seen the rest of the season. I NEVER hear ANY sectarianism or bigotry at Solitude at other games; it just isn't tolerated amongst the fans or at the club. Cliftonville have always drawn players, officials and fans from both communities.
Andy in Newtownabbey wrote (146 days ago):
Liam in Belfast, i dont know where your getting your info from about sectarian singing but it didnt happen. I was at the game and the "Billy Boys" was not sung once. We sang the National Anthem, and follow follow but that was it. Maybe you should look in your own back yard first fella before accusing our fans, who i thought behaved impeccably all evening.Some of the songs coming from your own fans were disgusting, but then your lots always been great at burying head in sand and blaming everyone else.
Davy in Shankill wrote (147 days ago):
From a Linfield perspective we have to be happy with the draw. The Reds destroyed us first half, we were terrible. Second half i thought we bossed it and showed that we can play a bit, even with our big players injured. I do not think fenney should play, hes too slow and gives the ball away too much. I still think it will come down to who has the better squad over the season betwen Blues and Reds as to where the title goes. Oh how i wish we had Joe Gormley on our team. The guys a beast, strong, quick, skillful, and knows where the net is. Actually think hes a better player than Boyce. Wouldnt it be great if the powers that be lifted the travel restrictions on Linfield going to Solitude.Even open up that bank at the side like they did for the Celtic game. What an atmosphere there would be then. Belfast's new "Big Two"
gee in cvr wrote (148 days ago):
is feeney that vain he wud put bimself on against the champions before waterworth very selfish have to admit linfeild plsyed a better game wen he brought himself off lol very bitter feeney tonyt
M.B. in Belfast wrote (148 days ago):
The Reds are missing the Liam Boyce fear factor this season. Teams were heart scared of him, that factor is no longer there and Cliftonville are back in among the rest now. Linfield were pretty woeful but they tied the Reds up in knots and bullied them a bit physically. The two big Linfield centre halves just lapped up the useless long balls the Reds played all night and that totally played into Linfield's hands. The Reds are very small compared to other sides and that's why Diarmuid O'Carroll should never have been sold. He would have physically matched the Linfield defence tonight.
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While Crusaders may be bossing the Danske Bank Premiership, it was their North Belfast rivals Cliftonville who made the headlines again this weekend.
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