United sitting pretty in second spot after win

ORGANISE. Peter Cairns, William Smith and Gerard Duffy with the Riada FC Fives Shield.INBM27-15 131SC.
ORGANISE. Peter Cairns, William Smith and Gerard Duffy with the Riada FC Fives Shield.INBM27-15 131SC.

Ballymoney United boss Peter Cairns says he hopes his side can challenge for the league.

He was speaking after his side nicked a 1-0 win against Strabane Athletic on Saturday.

The game started with Ballymoney going straight on the attack, but Mark Gillan’s effort was blasted over the bar. Other chances fell to Allen and Gerard Gillan, but the home keeper dealt with any efforts.

Ballymoney had a penalty shout dismissed by the referee after Mark Gillan was clobbered inside the box. At the other end, Strabane came close but Coyle stood strong.

A good move involving Mark Gillan and Allen saw another attack cleared by O’Hagan on 40 mins.

Ballymoney resumed the second half as they had finished the first. They were awarded a free kick after Mark Gillan has been hauled down outside the box. Gerald Gillen floated in the kick, but Mark Gillan’s effort was cleared off the line.

The deadlock was finally broken ten minutes before the final whistle when a scramble saw an effort by Allen being pushed in by the Strabane keeper.

After this error, Strabane piled on the pressure, but the visitors held out to claim the points.

In confident mood after the win, United manager Cairns revealed that Ballymoney have applied to return to Championship Two. Should they win the league, they would be placed in a play off with four other teams for promotion.

“Saturday was as big result for us,” told Cairns. Confidence is high at the minute, which is a vast change from the start of the season. We lost a lot of players after we were relegated, but the tides turned at Christmas and we got a few experienced players in and that has been a huge boost for us.

“We have picked up good results in recent weeks, we beat league leaders Newbuildings comfortably and we got a result on Saturday.”

Ballymoney entertain Oxford United this Saturday, the game has a 2.00 kick off. “We are hoping to put things right this time,” said Cairns. “In our last meeting we dominated the tie and they walked away with a 3-1 win. I am hoping for more of the same this week.”

United: Coyle, Coyles, Con Og Boyle, Gault, Craig, Gerald Gllan, Dempsey, Allen, Stewart, Mark Gillan, Lyons. Subs: McAuley, McGee, Dickson,