United sunk in Dundela clash

Ballymoney United’s recent winning run was sunk by Dundela in Belfast at the weekend.

United were downed 2-1 after squandering numerous opportunities to defeat the high-flying Championship Two side.

The game was played in warm spring sunshine but United were caught cold when they conceded two early goals.

And two late dismissals, one apiece for each side, produced a heated melee in added time.

The home side got on the scoresheet with their first attack inside 60 seconds.

A break down the right saw the ball swept into the box where onrushing midfielder William Faulkner placed his shot into the corner of the net.

A stunned United looked lost but almost hit back on eight minutes when Benny McGarry was played through and rounded the keeper.

However the forward took the ball too wide and his angled effort agonisingly rolled across the front of the goal.

As the Toon started to settle they were again undone down the opponents’ right flank.

Money failed to clear a cross and striker Ben Roy picked up the loose ball in the centre of the box and slotted home.

Ballymoney could have folded but bravely fought back and hemmed in the home side.

They forced a number of goal-scoring opportunites, but were also vulnerable to counter attacks.

On 16 minutes McGarry fed a long ball into Gerald Gillan’s path but he could not connect from close range.

A minute later Dundela’s Kris Hunter saw a shot saved from six yards before McGarry set up Mark Gillan who missed from six yards out.

On the half-hour Ian Christie aimed a dangerous free-kick to the far post where Liam Kearney ghosted in but fired wide.

Dundela goalscorer Faulkner nearly doubled his tally but blazed over when unmarked in the penalty area.

In the second half United started quickly and should have scored twice after the restart.

On 47 minutes Mark Gillan ran across the box and played in right midfielder Liam Kearney who blasted wide.

Seconds later Kearney turned provider and chipped a cross to the far post where Christie miscued his effort.

Dundela hit the bar from an over-hit cross and went close from a long throw and Toon keeper Bryan Moore also made a great save low into the corner.

Ballymoney’s persistence paid off on 67 minutes when the skilful Christie pulled one back with a stunning goal. Facing away from the net he hooked a ball over his head in the area and it looped over the stranded keeper.

United’s quick passing game had Dundela rattled and they looked to play it long at every opportunity.

Ballymoney forced forward but were denied their deserved equaliser on 83 minutes.

A ball over the top saw McGarry race in on goal. However, instead of shooting from 18 yards he teed up strike partner Mark Gillan whose shot into the bottom corner was well-saved.

As Dundela held firm, the game ended on sour note when the previously-booked Gerald Gillan was given a straight red for tackling an opponent who was on the ground.

Dundela’s Hunter was dismissed for reacting strongly to the challenge and both sets of players became involved in a melee which was separated by coaches and officials.

Ballymoney United: Bryan Moore 7, Chris Getty 6 (Francis McKenna 71 min, 6), Hugh Og Boyle 6, Chris Wilkinson 7, Gareth Hill 6, Gavin Gilmore 6 (Colm Kirgan 71 min, 6), Liam Kearney 7 (Daniel Laverty 81 min, 6) , Gerald Gillan 6, Mark Gillan 8, Benny McGarry 7, Ian Christie 8.