HOW IT HAPPENED: Linfield 2 Ballymena United 1

Linfield's Joel Cooper finished with two goals against Ballymena United on Saturday. Pic by Pacemaker.
Linfield's Joel Cooper finished with two goals against Ballymena United on Saturday. Pic by Pacemaker.
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Joel Cooper's first-half double left Linfield with victory over Ballymena United despite a late Jimmy Callacher own goal.

F-T: LINFIELD 2 BALLMENA UNITED 1

91: Key injury-time claim by Ferguson off another dangerous McGrory delivery as Ballymena push for a last-gasp equaliser

89: GOAL - Linfield 2 Ballymena United 1 (Callacher own goal)

Late drama as McGrory's whipped cross ends up diverted over the line eventually by Callacher as he slides in to block the delivery and it deflects off Ferguson on to the centre-back

87: SUB (Linfield) - Allen on for Hery

82: Stewart's drive is blocked by a sliding Ervin as Ballymena, once again, gift possession to Linfield

77: SUB (Linfield) - Waterworth on for Lavery

73: Fine run by Clarke with neat footwork to create space but his drive proves high and wide

72: Chance for Ballymena as Winchester's free-kick eventually drops at the back post for Burns but he can only poke the ball wide

67: SUB (Linfield) - Stewart on for Cooper

55: Miscue by Ervin hands possession to Linfield and Millar and Lavery link up but Clarke is unable to take advantage inside the box

46: SUBS (Ballymena United) - An. Burns and Friel on for Whiteside and Kane

H-T: LINFIELD 2 BALLYMENA UNITED 0

44: GOAL - Linfield 2 (Cooper 2) Ballymena United 0

Cooper with his second as he nips in to control and steer home Millar's cross from the right

35: GOAL - Linfield 1 (Cooper) Ballymena United 0

Cooper afforded time and space to cut in from the right and drift across the edge of the box unchallenged before smashing home

24: Audacious effort by Millar from distance clips the top of the Linfield crossbar with Ferguson at full stretch

15: Ballymena settling into the game - with McGrory's fine run fed wide by Winchester to Kane but his clipped cross proves too high

9: Cooper, twisting and turning on the left, attacks the box and delivers a low cross which Millar can only turn the wrong side of the post on the run

1: An early example of the blistering pace by Shayne Lavery as he races forward to put Johnny Addis under pressure

LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Cooper, Millar, Lavery, Clarke, Fallon, Hery, Mulgrew, McGivern.

Subs: Deane, Larkin, Waterworth, Shevlin, Stewart, Hume, Allen.

BALLYMENA UNITED: Glendinning, Addis, Whiteside, Harpur, McCullough, K.Kane, McGrory, Winchester, Ervin, Millar, Kelly.

Subs: Williamson, Mayse, McGinty, Friel, An.Burns, Carville, Lavery.

Referee: Jamie Robinson