Ballymoney sitting pretty after win over Ardstraw

IN THE CLEAR. United defenders clear their lines during the clash with Ardstraw.INBM17-16 033SC.
IN THE CLEAR. United defenders clear their lines during the clash with Ardstraw.INBM17-16 033SC.

Ballymoney United kept the pressure on Newbuildings with a fine 2-1 win over Ardstraw on Saturday.

The win takes them to joint top of the league, with two games in hand.

ON THE MARK. United's Mark Gillan, pictured in action against Ardstraw on Saturday.INBM17-16 032SC.

ON THE MARK. United's Mark Gillan, pictured in action against Ardstraw on Saturday.INBM17-16 032SC.

The game got off to a very scrappy start with the home team coming closest to scoring when a Coyles cross found Mark Gillan at the back post, only for him to shoot wide in the tenth minute.

Ballymoney continued to press and Coyles put in a great cross from a run down the right for Mark Gillan to power his header to close to Gailey in the visitor’s goal.

This was a good period of pressure by the home. Mark Gillan was looking dangerous down the left hand side.

Ballymoney should have taken the lead in the 24th minute, when Gerald Gillen came close.

The home side dominated possession, but couldn’t break down a very resilient Ardstraw defence.

McClelland broke through on 27 minutes and pushed wide of Gailey but unfortunately his effort went just wide of the post.

Ardstraw didn’t have much to offer at this stage, their only effort was a long range shot from King, which was well covered by Coyle in the home goal five minutes before the break.

With half time approaching Ardstraw managed to pin Ballymoney back with a series of corners and a free kick from McKelvy on 40 minutes was well saved by Coyle.

Determined to capatalise on their possession, the home side started the second spell in determined fashion.

Balymoney attacked straight from the start of the second half with McLaughlin breaking down the left to play a pass across the face of the goal.

However there was noone there to capitalise on the loose ball.

Ballymoney came close again, when Lyons broke through the defence, but his effort was well saved by Gailey.

Burke for Ardstraw broke down the right on 53 minutes, pulling the ball back from the by line for Campbell to shoot wide of Coyle for the opening goal.

Straight from the kick off Mark Gillan broke through and blasted his shot against the crossbar with Gailey well beaten. Mark Gillan and Gerald Gillan combined to create a chance for Con Og Boyle who shot across the face of the goal and just wide on 65 minutes. In the 70th minute McLaughlin floated a cross to the back post using the wind to his advantage, Gerald Gillan out jumped Mitchell at the back to head Ballymoneys equaliser.

Ballymoney eventually took the lead on 77 minutes when another McLaughlin free kick drifted in to a crowded box for McClelland to emerge from a group of players to head past Gailey.

* A minutes silence was observed prior to kick as a mark of respect for the late Vincent McLaughlin a long-time supporter of Ballymoney United.