Ballymoney struggle on the road to Limavady

UP FOR IT. Ballymoney Utd player, Aaron Smylie (front) rises to challenge his Limavady opponent on Saturday at the Riada Stadium.INBM41-14 032SC.
UP FOR IT. Ballymoney Utd player, Aaron Smylie (front) rises to challenge his Limavady opponent on Saturday at the Riada Stadium.INBM41-14 032SC.

Limavady United easily brushed aside the challenge of Ballymoney United last Saturday in Championship Two.

The visitors only managed one shot in the whole ninety minutes as their relegation worries increased. United on the other hand moved top of the table with this win although Lurgan Celtic and Annagh United both have four games in hand.

This was another thoroughly professional performance from a relatively young and inexperienced side. A Paul Owens brace, one from the penalty, plus Cathair Friel’s fourteenth of the season were enough for the Roemen to pick up all three points.

The hosts took the lead in just the fifth minute through a wonderful move; Gary McFadden and Friel combined with a clever one two to tee up Owens who made no mistake finding the bottom corner.

In the 16th minute the Roesiders should have been awarded a penalty when Shane Dooey seemed to punch the ball clear inside the area. Nine minutes later the visitors were cut apart again; Owens picked out the run of Friel but he couldn’t hit the target when through on goal.

It didn’t take long for the second to come however; in the 28th minute Friel was upended by Hugh Og Boyle with Owens despatching the penalty sending Bryan Moore the wrong way.

United continued to press for goals, this time Andrew Ferris burst through on goal only to be denied by a sprawling save from Moore. On the stroke of half-time Owens and Friel combined once again with the latter volleying inches over Moore’s cross bar.

Ten minutes into the second half the home side added their third; Lee Harkin’s free-kick was turned back across the box by Blain Morrison with Friel rising to cleverly head the ball into the far corner.

Morrison was almost the provider in the 59th minute when he excellent pass picked out the run of Ferris, who burst past two defenders only to be denied once again by Moore.

With goal difference likely to be important come the end of the season the home side continued to press with sub Gareth Brown seeing a well struck shot saved.

Ballymoney’s only chance came in the 78th minute with Lee McClelland being denied by a wonderful reaction save from Paul Wells.

The Roesiders almost added a fourth in the 83rd minute with Friel unlucky to see his volley strike a post with the keeper beaten.

United continued to pour forward but couldn’t add to the three goals they already had despite a lot of late pressure on Moore’s goal.

Limavady United: Wells, Harkin, McIvor, McClelland, Carlin, McFadden, Owens (Jennings), McMullan, Ferris (Brown), Friel, Morrison (Moore)

Ballymoney United: Moore, McKenna (Guyler), O’Hare, Dempsey, Og Boyle, Craig (Bradley), Dooey (McAuley), McClelland, Stewart, McVicker, Brown