Tony Kane scored twice for the Sky Blues (Picture: William Cherry/PressEye.com)
Monday, 08 May 2017
Ballymena United booked their place in Friday's Europa League play-off showdown with Glenavon following this semi-final defeat of Dungannon Swifts at The Showgrounds.
The Sky Blues moved in front after just three minutes in somewhat fortunate circumstances when a 20-yard Tony Kane effort took a bobble on the pitch before evading Swifts 'keeper Stuart Addis.
Then, three minutes after that, Dungannon's cause wasn't helped when Andrew Burns was shown a straight red card following a challenge on Leroy Millar.
United extended their advantage on 36 minutes through Joe McKinney who unleashed a wonderful curling effort past Addis into the top corner.
And Kane doubled his tally for the evening four minutes after that with a trademark spot-kick after Jonathan McMurray had been upended by Douglas Wilson in the box.
The Swifts came storming out after the break with Peter McMahon and Andrew Mitchell forcing excellent saves from Ross Glendinning during the early exchanges.
It was no surprise, then, that Rodney McAree's side reduced the deficit on 64 minutes when Kris Lowe sent a right-foot shot beyond Ross Glendinning despite the 'keeper's best efforts in getting a hand to the ball.
David Jeffrey's side seemed to put the game to bed on 72 minutes after William Faulkner before laying the ball off for McMurray to add United's fourth.
But just three minutes after that Jamie Glackin grabbed Dungannon's second with a stunning left-foot strike from outside the area low into the bottom corner.
However, Kyle Owens eventually killed the game off with eight minutes remaining with a header from a corner which appeared to squirm through Addis' arms.
BBC Sport NI coverage - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39852848
Ballymena United: Glendinning, T. Kane, Owens, Flynn, Jenkins, Faulkner, Ervin, Millar, McKinney, McMurray, McCaffrey subs Allen (not used), Henderson (not used), Braniff (not used), Kerr (not used), McCracken (not used)
Dungannon Swifts: Addis, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Glackin, Mitchell, O'Rourke, Burns, Lowe, Burke, McMahon subs Fitzpatrick (replaced Lowe 86), Brennan (replaced Burke 46), McElroy (replaced Hegarty 88), Lavery (not used), Lockhart (not used)
Referee: Ian McNabb
|Ross Glendinning||90 +1|