James Knowles congratulates Leroy Millar on opening the scoring (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)
Saturday, 06 October 2018
Ballymena United marked their return to The Showgrounds with a three-goal defeat of visitors Newry City.
The Sky Blues started brightly, creating early openings through Kofi Balmer and James Knowles.
Then, on 12 minutes, Leroy Millar found the net with a rasping effort from the edge of the box in off the underside of the bar giving Andy Coleman no chance.
United might have doubled their advantage midway through the first half when Knowles was presented with a free-kick from just outside the area but Coleman did well to produce a good save.
After the break, Newry could have crafted an equaliser after Declan Carville got his head to a James Walker free-kick from distance but the danger was cleared by Jim Ervin.
It could have been 2-0 soon after when Ryan Mayse worked his way into the box to tee up Cathair Friel but his scuffed effort was cleared.
But Friel did double the home advantage on 63 minutes from the rebound after Adam Lecky twisted and turned before seeing his initial effort blocked by Coleman.
Ballymena continued to press with Mayse producing a turn and volley just over while Friel curled a later effort narrowly wide.
Coleman then denied United again, producing a good save from Jonathan McMurray's shot but, right at the end of normal time, Andrew McGrory slammed home a third to complete the scoring.
BBC Sport NI coverage
Ballymena United: Ro. Glendinning, Whiteside, Mayse, Friel, Knowles, McCullough, McGrory, Balmer, Ervin, Lecky, Millar subs McDermott, Kane, Quigley, Faulkner, Winchester, Re. Glendinning, McMurray
Newry City: Coleman, King, Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Walker, Carville, S. Hughes, M. Hughes, Lavery, Montgomery subs Maguire, McCabe, Johnston, Delaney, Teggart, Mullen, Healy
Referee: Shane Andrews