Warrenpoint Town 1-2 Ballymena United
By Paul Alexander
Ballymena United secured a late win against Warrenpoint Town on Saturday afternoon at Milltown to reach the quarter-finals of the Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup.
There was a shortage of significant opportunities throughout the first half of the tie. The away side had an unsuccessful appeal for a penalty with 22 minutes gone. Adam Lecky rounded home goalkeeper Mark Byrne on the left before he was challenged by centre-back Emmet Bennett.
Lecky then supplied the ball for his side’s best chance of the half two minutes later. The forward’s delivery from the right-wing was headed towards Andy McGrory whose shot was held by Byrne. Warrenpoint found an opening on 32 minutes when Ryan Swan’s left-wing cross reached Brandon Doyle but the left-sided midfielder failed to connect.
Although Barry Gray’s side would move ahead after three minutes of the second half. An initial effort from Alan O’Sullivan was blocked before Doyle’s finesse shot curled into the right side of the net.
United tried to record an equaliser on 55 minutes. Cathair Friel cut the ball back from the byline on the left but McGrory’s attempt didn’t have enough power. However, they did level the scoreline in the 61st minute when loanee centre-back Kyle Owens nodded in at the back post after James Knowles’ corner from the left.
Town captain Danny Wallace almost restored the hosts’ advantage with a header which was met with an acrobatic save from Ross Glendinning. Warrenpoint’s Swan also tried to secure a second goal but his effort was blocked Ballymena centre-back Scot Whiteside.
The visitors had an opportunity to complete the turnaround on 81 minutes. Jude Winchester fed the ball to McGrory on the right but Byrne blocked the shot. The wing-back would net the winner in the 88th minute with a perfectly placed finish into the bottom right corner.
Warrenpoint Town: Byrne, Wallace, Bennett, Reilly, Scannell, Doyle, Hutchinson, Dillon, Deasy, Swan, O’Sullivan
Subs not used: McCann, Smith, Lynch, Watters, Cowan, O’Kane, Murnaghan
Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, Addis, Whiteside, Owens, McCullough, Knowles (T. Kane, 92), Millar, Winchester (Kelly, 86), McGrory, Friel, Lecky
Subs not used: K. Kane, Andrew Burns, Balmer, Reece Glendinning, Lavery
Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)
In-Touch Man of the Match: Andy McGrory (Ballymena)