Roger Casements GAC continued their encouraging start to the All County football League with 0-16 to 1-8 victory over All Saints last week.
The contest took a while to settle, with the visitors from Portglenone taking a seven point lead into the half time break.
At times they looked a full grade better than their hosts, and had it not been for some poor finishing and a great Paul Mc Cann save from Dermot Mc Aleese then the game would have been dead and buried after 30 minutes.
In that period the hosts managed only two pointed frees from the boot of Damien Kelly.
It was a different Ballymena team who came out to play in the second half. Throwing caution to the wind they began to reel Casements in, and several more Damien Kelly frees, and another from play sparked the comeback.
Ciaran Shannon got on the end of a move that broke down when Paul Kane was dispossessed, unfairly in the eyes of many Casements supporters who were becoming increasingly frustrated, and when Saints placed the ball past Ryan O Neill, all of a sudden the game was right back on.
McCann and McReynolds chipped in with two apiece and all of a sudden, from a game which was practically over, only a single point separated the teams. Casements were clearly on the back foot and this was quickly turning out to be an early season test of their character.
With just ten minutes remaining suddenly every breaking ball was crucial, every block important and every completed pass essential.
The complacency that set in needed to be broken and was, as they seized the initiative once more to finish the game the way they started – in control.
From a Portglenone perspective coming out top in an early season dog fight will do them no harm.
Casements claimed five of the games last six points to put a gloss on the scoreboard with a brace of points from Ciaran McKenna and Paddy Kelly, as well as a terrific long range free from Niall Kelly relieving the pressure to take the points Bannside.
The quality may have been middling at times, and both teams will play better football, but looking to the positives Ballymena showed enough glimpses in a twenty minute spell when they opened up, that they can mix it with the big guns in this league.
With a possible return of the Logan brothers, and the re-availability of the missing Michael Mc Carry and Patrick Mc Aleer, All Saints will be a stronger force in the months ahead.