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Old boy Boyce hits the winner to stun Dungannon Swifts

By Kevin Hughes Jnr

Dungannon Swifts 2 Ballymena United 3: Darren Boyce broke the hearts of the supporters who were cheering him on just three weeks ago when his goal gave Ballymena United victory over Dungannon Swifts.

It wasn't a night to entice those who are not diehard supporters, but those who left the central heating behind were rewarded with a thrilling contest and both teams will be happy with their January recruits.

Indeed, four of the five goals came from players out to impress with their new clubs, two of them against the ones they recently left.

Swifts got off to a great start when Jamie Tomelty's rocket free-kick from 18 yards gave them the lead on seven minutes.

The goal was obviously a boost for Swifts, but it seemed to lift the visitors more and after a series of close calls Ballymena hit an equaliser midway through the half when recent signing from Linfield, Jim Ervin, poked the ball home from close range.

And United maintained their grip for the remainder of the half, taking the lead on 38 minutes when David Cushley crossed for Allan Jenkins to touch home from six yards out.

Dungannon quickly set about getting back into the game after the break and on 54 minutes they won a corner when Grant Hutchinson's bolt from the blue was pushed around the post by Yohan Lacroix.

Tomelty's delivery from the left was perfect for Gary Liggett and the header from the former Ballymena frontman entered the net via the crossbar.

Ballymena had largely been second best in the second half, but a moment of brilliance from Boyce, who ended his loan spell at Stangmore Park to sign for Ballymena at the start of January, put the Sky Blues back in front on 73 minutes.

He controlled Cushley's pass from the right before curling a superb effort into the top left corner to take the points, leaving goal keeper Gareth Buchanan with no chance.

Dungannon Swifts: Buchanan, Lowe, Brennan, McCaffrey, Grieve, Hutchinson, Fitzpatrick (S Lavery 86 mins), McCullough, Hazley (C Lavery 78 mins), Tomelty (Glackin 65 mins), Liggett. Subs: McMinn, Brolly.

Ballymena United: Lacroix, Ervin, Munster (McCullough 90 mins), Taylor, Stewart, Thompson (Davison 76 mins), Kane, Jenkins, Cushley, Boyce, Teggart Subs: Surgenor, Lowry, McLellan.

Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon).

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