SPORT & LEISURE 0 BALLYMONEY UNITED 5
UNITED new-boy Cathal Higgins, signed recently from Dunloy, hit a hat-trick as Ballymoney cruised to a comfortable away win.
United got off to the perfect start pegging Sport and Leisure back from the start with McCaughern testing McComb in the home goal on five minutes. Although the visitors dominated the early stages the home team came close on 12 minutes when a Daly free kick was saved and fumbled by Moore into the path of Donnan but Moore was quick to recover and smothered the chance at the feet of the striker.
The visitors were in full flight now and Higgins beat the offside trap and sent a tantalising ball across the face of the home goal on 15 minutes.
Sport and Leisure were forced to counter-attack as Ballymoney piled on the pressure and had a half chance on 25 minutes when O’Neill’s diagonal shot across Moore went just wide.
Ballymoney were forced to substitute McKenna through injury early in the game. Despite creating lots of chances Ballymoney couldn’t turn their possession into goals until the half hour when Lyons broke down the right and sent a low hard pass into the path of Higgins who made no mistake to put the visitors one nil up.
On 38 minutes Lyons went one on one with McComb in the home goal and saw his effort was partly saved pushing the ball into the path of Larkin to score but unfortunately for Ballymoney he was adjudged to be offside.
Sport and Leisure had a half chance from the counter-attack, Donnan shooting just wide. With half time approaching Craig drove in a Ballymoney corner for McCaughern to volley past a static McComb.
In injury time of the first half Moore saved a McLarnon shot and then recovered to save from Daly on the rebound.
Ballymoney were on the attack from the start of the second half with McCaughern’s shot tipped away preventing Lyons from adding to the score.
McComb in the home goal dropped the corner to Lyons who whipped his shot just over from close range.
Ballymoney counterattacked from a Sport and Leisure attack on 55 minutes when Boyle found McCaughern wide on the half way line and the striker carried the ball all the way with support from Lyons and Higgins but McCaughern made space and finished the move himself slotting the ball past McComb.
On the hour Moore brought off a great save when Brady let fly from close range. Dooey had a good effort saved by McComb in the 75th minute the ball falling to Gilmore to steer his shot just wide.
It was all Ballymoney at this stage and on 80 minutes McCaughern slipped the ball to Higgins for the striker to finish for the visitors’ fourth.
In the 85th Minute Daly saw his shot saved full length by Moore tipping the ball onto the post and recovered to save at the feet of Gallagher who was adjudged to be offside but Moore was not to know that.
With time running out Daly caught Moore in the visitors goal of his line with a long range shot but Moore running backwards got a touch to push the ball onto the crossbar and recover to save at the feet of Donnan.
In the closing stages Craig slipped the ball through to Higgins who made no mistake netting Ballymoney’s fifth thus completing his hat-trick.
Ballymoney United: Moore. Dempsey. McKenna. Boyle, Keane. Craig. Gilmore. Lyons. McCaughern. Higgins. Larkin. Subs: Watson. McFerran. Dooey. Gillan.
* Everyone respected the call for a minute’s silence prior to kick off for recently deceased football writer Malcolm Brodie.
* Ballymoney United Indoor Boot Sale has been changed to the Social Club Castle Street Car Park every Sunday morning 11pm to 1pm.