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Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield round 2

Ballymena United 1 Ards 2

We booked our place in the last four of the Toals Bookmakers County Antrim Shield with two Joe McKinney strikes at The Showgrounds.

Joe scored a fine solo goal on 28 minutes to open his evening’s account and added a second after the break, with Allan Jenkins’ 89th minute goal for the home side proving a mere consolation as we held on to reach our second Shield final in three years.

A early opening for Ballymena had seen Tony Kane go close with a second minute free kick, but ex-United defender Michael Ruddy was on hand to clear off the goal line. On 18 minutes a volley from Stephen McBride won a corner for Ballymena and from the ensuing dead ball Aaron Hogg tipped a goalbound header over the bar.

The night’s opening goal came just shy of the half hour mark. Just as he had done back in the August league win over Ballymena, a strong run from McKinney took him through the home defence, before he cut inside and placed a shot past keeper Ross Glendinning.

As the half drew to a close, a tame effort from out wide by Cathair Friel proved an easy stop for Hogg in the Ards goal.

The second half began with a decent chance for Ards as defender Stuart McMullan broke through the Ballymena lines to get off a shot that went just narrowly over the crossbar.

By the 57th minute it was 2-0 and it was McKinney again, taking his goal tally for the season to six. A lapse in the United defence saw defender Caolan Loughran and keeper Glendinning leave the ball for each other, opening up space for McKinney for pounce and guide the ball into the net.

Two minutes later and we came close to adding a third when Gary Liggett found himself in on goal only for McBride to get across and clear the danger.

Ballymena’s response saw a chance for Willie Faulkner on 67 minutes but the former Ards favourite could only shoot wide when under pressure from a defender. Ten minutes later a shot from wide on the right from Friel produced some work for Hogg with the keeper doing well to gather the ball.

Finally Ballymena pulled a goal back with a minute of normal time remaining. Conor McCloskey provided the assist from the right, crossing low for Allan Jenkins to steer the ball in but it was not to be the start of a comeback as we held on to record our second win of the season over Davud Jeffrey’s men.

25th October 2016


18 Aaron Hogg, 38 Fra Brennan, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 4 Stuart McMullan, 3 Michael Ruddy, 6 David McCullough, 16 Gareth Tommons, 7 Craig McMillen, 10 Joe McKinney, 17 Carl McComb, 9 Gary Liggett


5 Johnny Taylor, 8 Ross Arthurs, 19 Guillaume Keke, 22 Jamie Rea, 40 Jamie Douglas (for Liggett 60)


Andrew Davey


McKinney (28, 57)


McMullan (14)


Joe McKinney netted his fifth and sixth goals of the season this evening
Picture: Gareth McCluskey