COLERAINE 0 BALLYMENA UTD 1
An early goal by Darren Boyce was enough to give Ballymena United a derby win over old foes Coleraine.
The Sky Blues got off to the perfect start as former Bannsiders Boyce headed home Neal Gawley’s corner with only two minutes gone.
Coleraine responded well and their were almost handed an equaliser thanks to a weak back header by Johnny Taylor on seven minutes. Ian Parkhill nipped in, but his shot failed to really trouble Tim Allen.
Taylor made a telling block six minutes later as Brad Lyons exchanged passes with Darren McCauley as he surged into the box, Taylor low deflected his shot wide with an outstretched leg.
Teenage striker Jamie McGonigle raced clear on 21 minutes as Ballymena claimed offside, Allen though did well to force him wide until the covering defenders got back to clear the danger.
Defender Johnny Watt almost grabbed an unlikely goal on 31 minutes as he tried his luck from 20 yeards, it never troubled Allen in the visiting goal however.
Gary Thompson had a similar effort at the other end three minutes later, but again the keeper was untroubled.
Coleraine thought they had drawn level two minutes before the break as Lyons picked Parkhill out with a clever through bal, which the striker dispatched. The assistant referee though had his flag raised for offside.
The second half took a while to get going with the first chance arriving on 66 minutes. Neil McCaferty curling free kick though was safely gathered by Allen.
Andy Findlay was at full stretch to palm away Gawley’s low drive from just outside the box with 11 minutes to go.
The young keeper produced an even better block on 85 minutes to deny the onrushing Matthew Shevlin.
Coleraine: Findlay, Watt, McNeill, Canning, Ogilby, Lyons, McCafferty, Higgins, McCauley, Parkhill (Harkin 73), McGonigle (Browne 56).
Subs: McGinty, Stewart, Mullan.
Ballymena United: Allen, Ervin, Kane, Taylor, McBride, Gawley, Thompson, Surgenor (Jenkins 59), Teggart, Cushley (Tipton 60), Boyce.
Subs: Ruddy, Shevlin, McAllister.
Goal: Boyce (2)
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn).