Despite persistent rain before kick-off this eagerly anticipated cup tie derby went ahead as scheduled. The pitch was heavy but this did not prevent the teams serving up a pulsating encounter. The Sky Blues looked determined to set the record straight having lost to Carniny earlier in the season and were the more dangerous team in the early stages. Ballymena shot narrowly over the bar from a free kick then on 15 minutes Carniny failed to deal with an inswinging corner allowing a sky blues player to poke the ball home from close range. As the half wore on, however, the Reds gradually gained control of the central midfield area and, as a result chances began to come. A deserved equaliser arrived 5 minutes before half time when Rhys O'Mullan
climbed majestically to power home an Andrew Adams
corner. The Reds tails were up now and a superb 6 man move resulted in new signing, Zak Herbison cleverly chipping the keeper to secure a half time lead.
Carniny dominated the early exchanges of the second period but were made to pay for missed opportunities when a hopeful up and under was not dealt with allowing Ballymena a simple tap in fro their second. This gave Ballymena a new lease of life as they sensed victory and poured forward in search of the winner. Thankfully for the Reds skipper Simon Evans
was in superb form and there was no way through for the Sky Blues as scores finished level at full time. In extra time Carniny's superior determination, skill and fitness was evident as they controlled the additional period . The deserved winner arrived when Andrew Adams
flicked home Jamie Houston
's beautifully lofted corner. This was a great advert for local youth football and both teams can be proud of themselves for serving up a great spectacle for the large crowd. There can be no doubt, however, that the better team won to secure local bragging rights until next season at least.
Panel:- J McClean, T Campbell, C McGall, S Evans, A Adams, M McComb , R O’Mullan, M Thompson, J Houston, C Doherty, J Hassan, A Johnston, J Stewart, Herbison.