Blues edge out Ballymena

Linfield's Jamie Mulgrew celebrates scoring against Ballymena
Linfield's Jamie Mulgrew celebrates scoring against Ballymena

Linfield staged a second half comeback to maintain their lead in the Danske Bank Premiership with an important 2-1 win at Ballymena.

In an entertaining first half, only a marvellous point-blank save from Jonny Tuffey prevented Darren Boyce from giving United a 10th minute lead, as the Sky Blues enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.

As Linfield began to come into the game, United keeper Yohann Lacroix blocked an effort from Philip Lowry, while the Blues came close on a number of other occasions.

But they were hit with a sucker punch on the stroke of half-time as Ally Teggart gave United the lead, firing home a right-foot shot from the edge of the area after Tuffey had blocked an Allan Jenkins effort.

Ballymena lost Tony Kane to a second yellow card early in the second half and Linfield made their extra man pay on 62 minutes when Philip Lowry headed home from Andy Waterworth’s cross.

The Blues moved in front on 68 minutes when Michael Gault’s free kick from the edge of the penalty box was charged down by the United wall but only as far as Jamie Mulgrew who rifled home a shot from the edge of the ‘D’.

Ballymena United: Lacroix, Ervin, Munster, Taylor, Stewart, Kane, Jenkins, Thompson, Cushley, Boyce, Teggart. Subs: Davidson, McLellan, Surgenor, Ruddy, McCullagh.

Linfield: Tuffey, BJ Burns, Haughey, Ward, Quinn, Gault, Lowry, A Burns, Waterworth, Carvill, Sproule. Subs: McVey, M Clarke, Tipton, Mulgrew, R Clarke,

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).