Tennent’s Irish Cup 5th Round
Ballymena United 4 – Owens, Shevlin (2), Kane
Moyola Park 0

Moyola Park travelled to the Showgrounds on Saturday to play Danske Bank Premier League side Ballymena United in the 5th round of the Tennent’s Irish Cup. The visitor’s manager Mervyn Pattison started with Farniok in goal with McCauley unable to be selected and also had J Paul injured and McAllister unavailable as he was just back from holidays. He also named McIlhatton on the bench following his return from Ballymena United. The home side had a few players missing from injury, however manager David Jeffrey named a strong starting eleven.

The first chance of the game fell to the visitors when in the 4th minute former united player Harris found Young and he rattled the underside of the crossbar. Three minutes later Farniok made an easy save from Shevlin. The 10th minute saw the home side have the ball in the back of the net as Fra McCaffrey turned home a Conor McCloskey cross, but it was cancelled out for offside. The 13th minute saw a Kane free kick hit the wall and was cleared by Hudson and from the resulting corner by Kane the home side opened the scoring as Owens stabbed the ball home from close range.

The 15th minute saw the first booking of the game when Rafferty was shown a yellow card following a challenge on McAlorum and three minutes later McCloskey fired a shot wide of the visitors’ goal. With 28 minutes on the scoreboard beside the away support the home side doubler their lead when McCaffrey found Owens and the defender’s nice touch set up Shevlin who buried the ball low past Farniok. The 32nd minute saw a rare chance for the visitors’ when Hudson found Rafferty and his weak shot was easily saved by Glendinning. The home side thought they had extended their lead in the 36th minute following a corner from Kane on the right which seemed to go straight in, however the goal was ruled out for a push on Farniok at his front post. A minute later Farniok was in action again when he parried a shot from Braniff and he then saved the rebound from Ervin and reacted quickly to save from Shevlin.

The Moyola keeper was in the thick of the action as he saved a close range shot from Shevlin in the 38th minute and two minutes later a clearance from McAuley resulted in a shot which Glendinning gathered and with four minutes of the first half left, McCann found Rafferty and his curling effort was tipped around the post by Glendinning.

Moyola Park manager Mervyn Pattison made a double change at half time with Og Boyle replacing McClure at left back and the returning McIlhatton replacing Taggart in Midfield. With five minutes of the second half gone McCann hit a free kick wide and a minute later a poor clearance from Farniok was picked up by Kane and he directed the ball into the empty from forty yards. The 55th minute saw McCullough break through on goal for the home side, however he saw his shot just roll past the far post. Three minutes later Shevlin saw his shot saved by Farniok and Braniff somehow sent his shot wide from just outside the 6 yard box.

With thirty minutes of the game left the home side had another goal disallowed when Shevlin turned in a McCloskey cross from close range, however the referee blew up for a foul on Farniok. Two minutes later Braniff headed over following a cross from Kane and the 67th minute saw McCloskey find Braniff however he shot wide. The following two minutes saw McIlhatton’s shot for the visitors blocked and Kane’s long range shot go wide. With twenty minutes left the visitors’ made their final change with Forrest replacing Young and a minute later a poor pass from the impressive Hudson fell to Braniff and his shot was saved by Farniok only to see the ball fall to Shevlin and he placed the rebound past the keeper .

The 74th minute saw David Jeffrey make his first change with Loughran replacing Owens and three minutes later Braniff saw his shot saved by Farniok. With eight minutes left a poor kick from Farniok found McAlorum, however he shot wide and with five minutes left the home side handed debuts to Dobbin and McCune with them replacing McCullough and McCloskey. The home side had the last action of the game in the 86th minute when the referee turned down a penalty appeal following a trip on Rafferty.

This was a great occasion for the Premier Intermediate League team however the state of the Showgrounds pitch made playing conditions very difficult and it was great to see a good travelling support for the men from Castledawson.

Ballymena United: Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Kyle Owens (Caolan Loughran 72), Stephen McAlorum, Kevin Braniff, Conor McCloskey (Ciaran Dobbin 85), Matthew Shevlin, Kofi Balmer, Jim Ervin, Steven McCullough (Lee McCune 85), Fra McCaffrey. Subs not used: Conor Brennan, Willie Faulkner, Joe McKinney, Jake McNeill.

Moyola Park: Marcin Farniok, Aaron Harris, Peter McClure (Hugh Og Boyle 45), Steven McQuillan (C), Nicky Hudson, David Graham, Conor Taggart (Daniel McIlhatton 45), Oran McAuley, Tiarnan Rafferty, Tomas McCann, Ryan Young (Stuart Forrest 70). Subs not used: Conor McNamee, Kyle Robinson, Joshua Evans.

Match Officials: I McNabb, R Scott, L McCahon.