Ballymena United 2, Institute 1

Ballymena United.
Ballymena United.

Ballymena United returned to the summit of the Danske Bank Premiership table after coming from behind to beat Institute.

Alan Teggart scored twice, one from the penalty spot, as Glenn ferguson’s side overcame the stubborn resistance of the newly promoted side.

With Allan Jenkins suspended after the Irish FA upheld his automatic ban following his red card on Friday night - despite referee Raymond Hetherington admitting the dismissal had been a mistake - Mark Surgenor came into midfield, with Tony Kane coming in for the ill Neal Gawley.

United made a disastrous start, conceding a goal inside 90 seconds. The Sky Blues were cut open down their right hand side and although Dwayne Nelson got down sharply to keep out Darren McFadden’s low shot, Stephen O’Flynn was on hand to tap home at the back post.

United struggled to get possession in the early stages as the north west visitors knocked the ball around confidently.

Ballymena eventually began to gain a foothold in the game, forcing a number of corners, while full-back Mark McCullagh fizzed in inviting centre across the face of goal, only for there to be no takers.

United levelled in spectacular fashion on 26 minutes. A cross from the right was headed clear by Institute defender Paddy McLaughlin as far as Alan Teggart on the edge of the penalty area. The winger drifted past Stephen Curry before unleashing a left-foot thunderbolt which shot high into the net at keeper Eugene Ferry’s near post.

As United attempted to continue their form at the start of the second half, Teggart attempted another spectacular shot but he couldn’t get over the ball and his rising shot went just over.

But Teggart was on target on 66 minutes as he continued his outstanding record from the penalty spot.

Overlapping full-back Stephen McBride went down under a challenge from Stephen Curry on the left edge of the penalty area. Referee Keith Kennedy waved away strong Institute protests that the challenge had taken place outside the box and Teggart stepped up to confidently fire his spot kick into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Ferry.

At the other end, sub Ben Doherty’s through ball sent Darren McFadden clear on goal but keeper Nelson advanced quickly to block the Institute player’s effort on the edge of the penalty area.

Johnny Taylor also made a crucial block from a Stephen O’Flynn shot while Nelson made a crucial block from Robbie Hume in injury time to preserve Ballymena’s lead.

Ballymena United: Nelson, McCullagh, Munster, Taylor (c), McBride, Kane (sub Boyce 66), Taggart, Surgenor (sub McCaul 73), Teggart, Tipton, Cushley (sub Ruddy 79). Subs (not used): Stewart, Harris.

Institute: Ferry, McLaughlin, Scoltock, Crown; Curry, Forker (sub Doherty 66), Walsh, McKeever; Armstrong (sub Henderson 66), O’Flynn, McFadden (sub Hume 78). Subs (not used): Young, Kelly.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)