THREE second half goals ensured a comfortable passage into the quarter-finals of the Irn Bru League Cup for Ballymena United, WRITES STEPHEN ALEXANDER.
Two penalties from Alan Teggart and a Tony Kane free kick – all as a result of fouls on substitute Jamie Davidson – took Glenn Ferguson’s men past the hurdle of the Welders.
It was the Championship side who had the first sight of goal in the fourth minute when Mark Wilkinson dispossessed Richard Vauls deep inside his own half but he could only shoot straight at Stuart Addis.
Ballymena made a brighter start to the second half and Mark Surgenor’s header from Ross Black’s cross was acrobatically tipped over by keeper Thompson.
Ballymena introduced Jamie Davidson from the bench and within two minutes the striker’s burst into the box was halted by Aaron McKee, with Teggart sending Thompson the wrong way from the resultant penalty.
Davidson was also the central figure in United’s second penalty 10 minutes from the end, when he was sent sprawling by Thompson as he chased a loose ball into the penalty area.
This time Teggart sent his spot kick straight up the middle to double United’s lead and Tony Kane rubber-stamped Ballymena’s progress by curling home a 20-yard free kick, again after Davidson had been fouled.
The Welders pulled back a consolation goal in stoppage time when Mark Wilkinson fired home in a goalmouth scramble.
Ballymena: Addis, Kane, Munster, Vauls, Black, Taggart (sub Fleming 87), Surgenor, Thompson, Teggart, A Davidson (sub McCabe 84), Costello (sub J Davidson58). Subs (not used): Rodgers, Ruddy.
H&W Welders: Thompson, McMillen (sub King 83), Armstrong, Cooling (sub Garrett 66), McMurray, Muir, McKee, Harris, Wilkinson, Johnston (sub McConnell 60), Black. Subs (not used): Magee, Taylor.
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).