Belfast Telegraph

Kane thrilled to play his part in Oval turnaround

Glentoran 2 Ballymena Utd 3

By David Mason

Ballymena United defender Tony Kane bagged his 11th goal of the season against Glentoran - and believes there are still more to come.

It's a staggering return for a full back. His latest contribution helped the Sky Blues claim three crucial Danske Bank Premiership points, even though they looked down and out at the break.

Gary Haveron's team surged into a 2-0 lead with unfortunate 18-year-old Adam McCracken firing past his own goalkeeper Ross Glendinning, before Stephen McAlroum looped in a bizarre second.

If the points looked secure, David Jeffrey's team had other ideas. Glens' old boy Fra McCaffrey required only five minutes of the second half to shoot United back into it.

And, with the home fans counting down the clock, Kane conjured up his party piece by blasting home an equaliser.

But United were far from finished. Deep into injury time, substitute Johnny McMurray gobbled up a long punt forward from Kyle Owens and when he duly pulled the trigger, the outcome was inevitable.

"I don't think we deserved to be two goals down at the break," said Kane. "There was a lot of luck attached to Glentoran's goals. They didn't really create anything else.

"We decided to give it a go in the second half. I knew if we got one goal, we'd get two.

"Probably at that stage, we would have settled for a draw. But this team just keeps going. There was no way back for them (Glentoran) after Johnny's winner. It's great to have him back again after injury, he has all the ability in the world.

"We missed him when he was out. But it was a great team performance. Our fitness levels are unbelievable. Davy (Jeffrey) works us hard in training and we are reaping the benefits.

"It was the perfect result ahead of Tuesday night's big League Cup semi-final with Coleraine."

Kane admits his scoring antics have even taken him by surprise.

"That's 11 for the season, and the first one from open play," he grinned. "I've scored nine penalties and a free kick.

"I just took a chance to go forward and found myself free inside the box. I just remember Willie (Faulkner) heading the ball back and Allan Jenkins got a touch. I just put my foot through it and was delighted to see it hit the net."

But has the attacking defender set a goal target for the rest of the campaign? He quipped: "Yes, 20 would be a nice round figure!"

If the United dressing room was full of festive cheer, the eerie silence down the corridor told its own story. Indeed, the door remained locked for some time. When Glentoran boss Gary Haveron finally emerged, he paid his team few compliments.

"The goals we conceded were unacceptable, it was criminal," he said. "Our game management was disappointing, our discipline was disappointing; our defending was atrocious, our energy was poor.

"Pathetic is the best way of describing that performance. It was embarrassing. I feel for the fans because we have let them down. It's perhaps a reality check of where we are at."

 

Glentoran: Morris, Magee, Allen, Lavery, Foley (O'Flynn, 88 mins), Harmon, McAlorum, Addis, Redman, Ferrin, Smith (K Nelson, 69 mins). Unused subs: Novo, McAuley, D Nelson.

Ballymena: Glendinning, Kane, Owens, Taggart (McMurray, 69 mins), Jenkins, Faulkner, Friel, Ervin, Millar, McCaffrey, McCracken. Unused subs: Henderson, Wallace

Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)

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