NI LEAGUE CUP: Ballymena United march on as they hit four past sorry Linfield

Ballymena's Johnny McMurray celebrates after scoring against Linfield
Ballymena's Johnny McMurray celebrates after scoring against Linfield

Ballymena United cruised through to the last eight of the NI League Cup after beating Linfield 4-1 at the Showgrounds on Wednesday night.

Johnny McMurry with two, Cathair Friel and Willie Faulkner all scored for Unted, while Jimmy Calacher got Linfield’s only reply.

United had three chances early on but Friel with two and McMurray failed to open the home side’s accont.

Despite United’s early pressure it was Linfield who took the lead in the 19th minute through Jimmy Callacher.

The defender poking home from close range after young keeper Ben McAuley dropped a high ball.

United were level three minutes later as McMurray thundered one past Roy Carroll from the edge of the box.

It was 2-1 to United in the 41st minute as Friel floated theb ball over Carroll with ease. A fantastic finish from the striker.

The home side had the first chance of the half in the 46th minute but Gary Thompson’s shot was just off target with Carroll rooted to the spot.

The Blues night didn’t get any better in the 56th minute as Ross Gaynor was sent-off after picking up his second yellow for diving.

Four minutes later is 3-1 to United as McMurray grabbed his second of the night after lobbing Carroll from 30 yards.

It was 4-1 in the 73rd as Willie Faulkner rifled home after a cross from Jim Ervin.

Ballymena could have had a fifth in the 79th minute but Ervin’s effort was blocked by Carroll. It could have been five at the death but Conor McCloskey shot wide.

Ballymena: McAuley, T. Kane, McBride, Owens, Thompson, Jenkins, Faulkner, Friel, Ervin, McMurray, Loughran.

Subs: Flynn, McCloskey, E. Kane, Shevlin, Millar.

Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Clingan, Callacher, Bright, Millar, Burns, Clarke, Casement, Mulgrew, Gaynor.

Subs: Haughey, Ward, Carson, Quinn, Clarke.

Referee: R. Crangle.