Unlikely scorer McBride wants better second half of season

Stephen McBride' celebrates after scoring his first ever goal for Ballymena United in the New Year's Day win at Portadown. Picture: Press Eye.

Stephen McBride' celebrates after scoring his first ever goal for Ballymena United in the New Year's Day win at Portadown. Picture: Press Eye.

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Stephen McBride chose a memorable date in the calendar to record a significant milestone in his Ballymena United career.

The left-back’s first ever goal for the club helped the Sky Blues to a vital 4-3 Danske Bank Premiership win at Portadown on New Year’s Day.

Despite being a veteran of almost 500 games in the Irish League for Crusaders and Ballymena, the defender laughed: “I would be lucky to make it to double figures for goal in my career.

“It’s been years since I score a league goal - I can’t even remember when it was.

“The last one I scored for Crusaders was in an Irish Cup game against Ballinamallard.

“I picked the ball up on the left , cut inside and played a one-two with Gary Thompson and it fell for me to hit it with my right foot - which was even more surprising! The boys have been giving me a bit of stick!

“It was a great game which could have gone either way.

“The pitch was horrendous so credit to both teams for producing a match like that on it.

“It’s nice to get a goal but as a defender you just want to keep clean sheets but I think the pitch played a big part in that game being so high scoring.

“It was certainly a happier day than my last visit to Portadown when I got hit in the eye with the ball and lost the vision in my eye for 24 hours.

“It was scary at the time but thankfully it has cleared up now.”

McBride is hopeful that United can build on their January 1 success and have a better second half to the season.

It has been very stop-start. The boys have under-performed, we know that - we feel we’re better than our league position shows.

Getting to the final of the County Antrim Shield has maybe papered over a few cracks but we haven’t been happy with the way we’ve played this season.

“The Irish Cup game against Linfield this Saturday is massive for us and we want to stay in the competition for as long as possible.

“We’ve had good runs in it the past couple of years and we would love to get another run in it again this season,” added Stephen.