Honours even in tense derby clash

Ballymena United and Coleraine had to make do with a share of the spoils in a tense encounter at The Showgrounds.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 10:03 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:07 am
Ballymena's Joe McKinney is tackled by Coleraine's Brad Lyons. Stephen Hamilton / Press Eye

Eoin Bradley had given the visitors a first half lead when he converted at the second attempt after his initial penalty was saved.

The hosts deservedly ties things up in the second period when Johnny McMurray headed home.

Before the game the sides observed a minute’s silence in honour of Ryan McBride, the Derry City captain who tragically passed away at the weekend.

The Bannsiders carved out the first opening on nine minutes as the hosts failed to clear their lines from a corner, the ball fell for Lyndon Kane but his shot was gathered by Tim Allen.

More neat build up from the visitors on 17 minutes saw Darren McCauley combine with Adam Mullan down the left, but the wide man shot over.

The game burst into life on 26 minutes as Bradley was upended in the box by the onrushing Allen.

The striker dusted himself down but his initial spot kick was parried by the keeper, however the striker reacted quickest and coolly slotted in the rebound.

The Sky Blues finished the half strongly with Tony Kane going close on three occasions. The last effort crashing off the cross bar from 25 yards.

The home side started the second half strongly, and but for a fantastic block by Gareth McConaghie to deny Gary Thompson on 56 minutes they would have been level.

Ballymena finally drew level with eleven minutes left on the clock as McMurray rose highest to head home from a corner to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Ballymena United: Allen, Kane, Owens, Flynn, Thompson (Jenkins 64), Ervin, Millar (McCloskey 76), Braniff, McKinney, McMurray, Kerr.

Subs: Glendinning, Faulkner, McCaffrey.

Coleraine: Johns, Kane, Mullan, Harkin, Douglas, McCauley, Kee, McConaghie, Lyons, McGonigle (Allan 82), Bradley (McLaughlin 82).

Subs: McCafferty, Parkhill, Edgar.

Referee: S Taylor.