COLERAINE 2 BALLYMENA UNITED 3
Ballymena United finally ended their dismal derby run against Coleraine with a 3-2 victory.
It was the Sky Blues first win in 14 games against their old rivals and what a good game it was.
Oran Kearney made a change to his side bringing in Gregg Shannon in place of Wayne Drummond. The visitors were also forced to change their keeper with Stuart Addis replacing the injured Dwayne Nelson.
But Addis himself was nearly forced into an early exit after a coming together with with Stephen Carson in the fifth minute.
There was a seven minute delay as the Sky Blues keeper received treatment on a hand injury after the clash with Carson picking up a booking.
The home side should have taken the lead when the game restarted as Eoin Bradley fired a dangerous low cross into the box, but both Ruairi Harkin and Gareth Tommons failed to make any contact in front of goal.
Ballymena were starting to find their feet as Gary Thompson drew a good save out of Shannon.
Addis was struggling and he had a lucky escape on 26 minutes as Bradley beat him to Tommons’ cross, but Taylor got back to hook the ball off the line.
It was the visitors though who edged in front against the run of play as Alan Teggart’s cross into the box somehow evaded everyone, including keeper Shannon, before finding the net.
And five minutes into first half stoppage time Allan Jenkins made it 2-0. Gary Thompson’s long punt up the pitch was picked up by Cushley who fed his skipper and he fired in.
Coleraine gave themselves a lifeline on 68 minutes as Tommons rifled home from just inside the box. The Sky Blues almost restored their two-goal advantage straight away when Teggart burst clear, but Shannon denied him with a great save.
Within three minutes they had made it 3-1 though as Jenkins fired in from close range from Teggart’s corner. But back came Coleraine as Eoin Bradley produced another clinical finish to make it 3-2.
The home side were upping the pressure with Tommons drawing a great save out of Addis on 78 minutes. The Bannsiders should have drawn level with six minutes to go but Hegarty blazed over after Carson’s cross had found him at the back post.
Coleraine: Shannon, Watt (Stewart 49), McIlmoyle, Ogilby, Douglas, Hegarty, Canning, Harkin, Carson Tommons, E Bradley.
Subs: Moore, Owens, J Bradley, McMullan.
Goal: Tommons (68), Bradley (74).
Ballymena United: Addis, Kane, Munster, Taylor, Stewart, Thompson, Taggart, Surgenor (Davidson 80), Cushley (Lowry 80), Jenkins, Teggart (Ruddy 89).
Subs: Liggett, McLellan.
Goals: Teggart (42), Jenkins (45+5, 71).
Booking: Thompson, Taylor, Davidson.
Referee: Colin Burns.