Limavady Youths played their fourth game since the league split and made it four wins from 4 as they defeated Ballymena 2-1 atScroggy Road on Friday Night. After 10 minutes Limavady came close to the opener when Ryan McMichael played a great ball to Jordan Fleming who crossed and Conor McGuinness shot and the visitors managed to scramble it away. In the 11th minute of the game Ballymena had their only shot of the game when from a corner the ball broke to the edge of the box but the shot was well off target. One of the best moves of the game involved several players on the Limavady right. Jack Campbell started the move and Fleming, Conor McGuinness, Kyle Eakin and Kyle McGuinness all got involved in short passing move that saw the final shot go too far over the bar. Kyle Eakin who was easily the star of the show on the night made a terrific interception on the half way line and played in Conor McGuinness who outpaced everyone and the Ballymena keeper made a great save with his feet to deny Conor. Limavady thought they had taken the lead in the 27th minute when Skipper jack Campbell did well to win the ball early and slotted a great through ball between the centre halves for Ryan McMichael to break onto and slot home but the referee gave an offside decision and the goal didn’t stand. Kyle McGuinness hasn’t had much luck in front of goal this season and when Luke Faulkner and Conor McGuinness had a neat interchange of passes on the right and Jack Campbell squared a good ball into the box for Kyle racing in to finish but the best he could do was force a save and earn a corner. Dillon Moore delivered a great corner and the usually dependable head of Jack Campbell met it but not with the usual power and the keeper again was able to make a comfortable save. Ballymena then hit Limavady with the classic sucker punch in the 31st minute. A soft free conceded on the half way line was knocked high and long and the huge centre forward and Conor McGee went up for the header in the box and it looped over Eoghan McLaughlin into the roof of the net. As Eoghan said after the game, “I didn’t have a single shot and I still conceded”, that was the story of the match. Jamie McLaughin made a brave header to stop a rare Ballymena foray forward and Ryan McMichael and Conor McGuinness worked a decent opening from a short corner but couldn’t find a final opening. Callum Whiteside on the stroke of half time did well on the left and crossed and Campbell had time to bring the ball down and shoot but fired over. Countless chances but nto finding the net and trailing 1-0 at the break to the only chance from the visitors.
The second half however was even better as the visitors had no chances at all. The restart was only 4 minutes gone when McMichale put Conor McGuinness in on goal and as the flyer raced into the box with keeper to beat the defender decided to stop the shot by hauling down the Conor from behind. Delight for the home support as the referee blew his whistle and then dismay as a free kick was awarded on the edge of the box. The obligatory red card was shown too but Limavady felt an injustice was done. Up stepped an unlikely candidate to snatching the ball from the usual takers and righting the injustice with a pearler of a freekick into the top corner to level at 1-1. Dillon Moore was becoming more and more of an influence on the game as he drove forward with impressive infield runs from fullback like a young Roberto Carlos. One such run saw him travel half the pitch ghosting past 5 players before being dispossessed at the moment for a shot. Ballymena hadn’t been able to get a shot on target in the first half so with ten men Limavady got a massive lift. However as is often the case the visitors rallied really well and played for the point in the possession by getting bodies behind the ball working tirelessly and defending like their life depended on it. They where well organised and passionate and credit must got the ten men from Ballymena who played the final 35 minutes a man short and almost got a draw and limited Limavady to just one more goal. That said Limavady should have did better with the countless chances they had. Conor McGuinness made the keeper produce a cracking save to his right after 53 minutes and Limavady where getting frustrated. McMichael had his shot blocked at point blank range by the keeper and the follow up effort from Whiteside was also blocked on the line. Fleming tired to get the winner from further out but fired over. Limavady where now pressing hard and with four up front they still couldn’t force a winner until with 6 minutes remaining that man Eakin was on hand again when Fleming corssed a back post ball there he was to side foot home the winner to Limavady’s relief. A third almost followed near the end when Moore and Whiteside combined well on the left and Whiteside’s cross was perfect to the late run of Matty Brown who met it with a fantastic diving header but the keeper who was magnificent made yet another stop. A good win against table topping Ballymena but in truth it was poor finishing from Limavady and a big hearted backs to the wall performance from Ballymena that prevented a really big scoreline.
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