Jamie McGonigle scored from the spot for Coleraine as they defeated Bangor City (Picture: Lorcan Doherty/PressEye.com)


It was a return to action today for Ballymena United, Coleraine and Linfield as they limbered up for their forthcoming European adventures against opponents from Wales.

The games were part of an initiative between the NIFL and the Dafabet Welsh Premier League designed to provide meaningful challenges to assist member clubs to perform as well as possible in Champions and Europa League competition.

Coleraine kicked the afternoon off with a 3-1 defeat of Bangor City at The Showgrounds.

Oran Kearney's side opened the scoring after 25 minutes when summer signing Josh Carson found Eoin Bradley inside the box who, in turn, wasted no time sending a first time effort past the visiting 'keeper.

However, the Citizens got back on level terms on 32 minutes when Stephen O'Donnell upended Luke Wall inside the box with Daniel Nardiello stepping up to convert the subsequent penalty.

The Bannsiders regained the advantage early in the second half through a superb 30-yard free-kick from the boot of James McLaughlin before, with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Jamie McGonigle completed the scoring from the spot.

Meanwhile, Linfield made the short trip over to the Principality to face Bala Town at Maes Tegid, emerging 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Andy Waterworth, Aaron Burns and Cameron Stewart.

Waterworth kicked things off on 24 minutes with a point blank finish after Niall Quinn picked him out at the end of a run.

Burns doubled Linfield's lead five minutes from the break, sending 'keeper Ashley Morris the wrong way from the spot after Paul Smyth had been upended.

Bala reduced the deficit on 70 minutes with a Mark Connolly close range finish after he connected with a corner but, with three minutes remaining, Stewart restored Linfield's two-goal cushion with a free header from Kirk Millar's right-sided cross.

Elsewhere, Ballymena United and Connah's Quay Nomads played out a scoreless draw at Dixon Park.

Kicking off at 3:10pm due to the visitors flight being delayed United came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half thanks to superb efforts from Jim Ervin and Leroy Millar.

After the break, the Nomads asserted themselves more with United 'keeper Tim Allen called into action on a number of occasions.

Tags:  Ballymena United  Coleraine  Linfield