Stephen Curry (53)

1

Steven McCullough (16)
Cathair Friel (47p)

2

Cathair Friel doubles Ballymena's lead from the spot (©INPHO/Brian Little)

SKY BLUES WIN AGAIN TO MAINTAIN TITLE CHALLENGE

Ballymena United made it three wins in a row with victory over Institute at the Brandywell.

Interim 'Stute boss Kevin Doherty almost got his spell in charge of the club off to the perfect start when, after three minutes, Joe McCready fired over despite being well placed on the edge of the area.

However, Ballymena moved in front on 16 minutes when Steven McCullough found the net straight from a corner kick delivered from the right which went in via the far post despite keeper Martin Gallagher getting his fingers to the ball.

Thomas McBride almost levelled for Institute a short time later. The ball fell for him on the edge of the box but his right-foot effort was well saved by Ross Glendinning who got down low to deal with the danger.

The visitors had chances to double their advantage as the first half progressed. Jonathan Addis attempted a close range flicked header which Gallagher managed to gather while Andy McGrory just missed out on converting a Jude Winchester cross into the box.

But Ballymena waited only a couple of minutes into the second half to extend their lead when Adam Lecky was Colm McLaughlin inside the area with Cathair Friel firing the resultant spot-kick into the bottom corner.

Stephen Curry pulled a goal back for Institute six minutes after that when he found himself unmarked on the edge of the box from a corner to volley home at the near post.

Winchester then almost restored United's two-goal lead soon after only to hit the post with a delightful chip while, on 64 minutes, Kofi Balmer was denied only by Gallagher's diving save to the right.

At the other end Glendinning had to be alert to push out another McCready effort, turning the ball around the post for a corner before Ballymena had another chance when Winchester and then Leroy Millar threatened.

Then, right at the end, McCullough was a whisker away from doubling his tally when he rattled the crossbar from a free-kick.

Institute: Gallagher, R. Morrow, McLaughlin, D. Curry, Doherty, Dunne, S. Curry, Jarvis, Wilson, McCready, McBride subs Doherty (not used), Moorehead (replaced S. Curry 80), J. Morrow (replaced McBride 81), Brown (not used), McIntyre (not used), Smith (replaced R. Morrow 75)

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Addis, Friel, Knowles, McCullough, McGrory, Balmer, Winchester, Ervin, Lecky, Millar subs Williamson (not used), Kane (replaced Winchester 86), Quigley (not used), Whiteside (not used), Faulkner (replaced Harpur 88), Shevlin (not used), Harpur (replaced Knowles 71)

Referee: Tim Marshall

Attendance: 428

Tags:  Ballymena United  Institute