Ballymena United 1-1 Institute
By Paul Alexander
Ballymena United and Institute both scored from the penalty spot in Saturday afternoon’s 1-1 draw at the Ballymena Showgrounds but neither side could secure all three points in the Danske Bank Premiership.
The first notable chance of the match came from an unusual source with almost 14 minutes played. Home captain Jim Ervin advanced out of his side’s backline and dispossessed Joe McCready before trying a low shot which was cushioned by Stute goalkeeper Rory Brown
Visiting striker McCready threatened from a free-kick after roughly 20 minutes. However, his attempt from the set piece was pushed away by United stopper Ross Glendinning. Institute would have taken the lead seconds later had it not been for a goal line clearance by Andrew Burns after some pinball-style play in the penalty area.
Although Sean Connor’s side did pull ahead in the 28th minute. Gareth Brown was brought down inside the Braidmen’s 18-yard box before McCready dispatched the spot-kick. Brown had a chance to make it 2-0 three minutes before the break but he was thwarted by good reactions from Glendinning.
Ballymena levelled the scoreline after five second-half minutes. Forward Adam Lecky was fouled by Institute keeper Rory Brown which resulted in a second penalty. Wing-back Andrew McGrory stepped up and opted for a powerful strike into the centre of the goal.
Stute’s McCready tried to restore his side’s advantage after picking up a loose ball but his low shot at the near post was saved by Glendinning. At the other end, Brown did well to save a header from Lecky after McGrory’s cross from the right.
Declan Carville almost put United in front with 20 minutes of the game remaining. Brown was able to hold onto the midfielder’s attempt, which took a slight deflection, despite already diving to his left. On 81 minutes a shot by Institute centre-back Conor Tourish flew over after the ball had been worked across from the left.
McCready came closer two minutes later when his curling effort from the left was saved by Glendinning. Shane McGinty nearly found a winner for David Jeffrey’s side in the 88th minute but his fine strike smacked against the crossbar.
Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, Addis, Ervin, Andrew Burns, McCullough, Winchester, Carville (T. Kane, 75), McGinty, McGrory, K. Kane (Lavery, 62), Lecky
Subs not used: Williamson, Mayse, Knowles, Balmer, Reece Glendinning
Institute: R. Brown, McLaughlin, Curry, Tourish, Tweed (Bradley, 84), McNamee (McIntyre, 68), Crown, Grace, McCauley, McCready, G. Brown (McGurk, 82)
Subs not used: Wells, Scoltock, Morrow, Leppard
Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)
In-Touch Man of the Match: Ross Glendinning (Ballymena)