Ballymena United through to next round of BetMcLean League Cup after struggle at Showgrounds

Ballymena's Leroy Millar
Ballymena's Leroy Millar

Harland & Wolff Welders 0 Ballymena United 1

Ballymena United huffed and puffed their way past Harland & Wolff Welders 1-0 to make it through to the next round of the BetMcLean League Cup.

The Welders however can hold their heads high as it took a Jude Winchester goal at the very death to split the sides.

United boss David Jeffrey will not be happy with his side's display but they are in the hat for the next round - while the Welders were so close but yet so far.

Ballymena made several changes from Saturday's 3-0 league success with Conor Quigley, William Faulkner, Jude Winchester, Reece Glendinning and Jonathan McMurray all coming in to the starting eleven.

Ballymena had a chance in the eighth minute. Friel fired in a cross for Faulkner who turned and hit his shot off target from close range.

The Welders to their credit were working very hard as the game reached the 18th minute but they had yet to set alarm bells ringing in the United defence.

In the 20th minute the Welders went close as David Graham blazed over from the edge of the box.

The Welders had another chance five minutes later but Graham was again off target from a through ball.

Ballymena were looking out of sorts as the Welders moved the ball about and Sky Blues boss David Jeffrey let his feelings known from the sidelines about his side's efforts.

One minute before the break Ballymena had a good chance. Kofi Balmer made ground before crossing it in. McMurray got his head to it but Welders keeper Matthew Anderson made the save.

It ended scoreless at the break and the United faithful were not happy as their players trotted off after manager Jeffrey who did not look happy. He will expect better in the second half.

Three minutes into the second half the home side had a chance from a free-kick. However McMurray shot wide from inside the box.

The Sky Blues were starting to push the pace but after 55 minutes it was still scoreless.

On 60 minutes United's McMurray had another chance as his chance was on target but Anderson saved.

Two minutes later United had another chance from a corner. Balmer rose highest to put his header just wide of the post.

United were getting closer to the opener. In the 65th minute Jude Winchester flashed a shot wide as the Welders seemed to be tiring.

Former Cliftonville midfielder Winchester tried his luck mnutes later but his shot was pushed wide by keeper Anderson.

The Welders had a great chance in the 74th minute as Ryan Dean's looping header was pushed over by United keeper Glendinning.

Friel and Winchester had further chances for Ballymena but with eight minutes left extra-time looked a possibility.

United substitute Adam Lecky had a real chance to win the game in the 89th minute. The striker took his time before pushing his shot wide of the Welders goal much to the groans of the home support.

The Welders then had a chance of their own to win the game but Luckas Gwiazda blazed over when he should have scored.

Seconds later United scored to make it 1-0 as Winchester blazed home after good work by Friel. But it really was a get out jail card for the home side.

Welders:Anderson, O'Mahony, Armstrong, McMillan,Hamill, Harris, Davidson (Dornan,30mins), Morrow, Graham, Gwiazdi, Deans.

Subs not used: Irwin, McIlmail, Bolton, Moore.

Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, Quigley, Whiteside, Friel, Faulkner (Mayse 71mins), Balmer, Winchester, Ervin, Millar, Reece Glendinning (McGrory 85mins), McMurray (Lecky 71mins).

Subs not used: McDermott, Kane, Knowles, McCullough.

Ref: Andrew Davey.