Belfast Telegraph

Injury woe gives Shevlin a chance to shine

Ballymena United 4 Moyola Park 0

By Billy Weir

Matthew Shevlin made the most of Ballymena United's injury crisis to show that he remains one of the hottest young strikers in the local game.

The local lad scored two typical poacher's goals to take his tally for the season to six which was just the tonic David Jeffrey needed having lost top scorer, Cathair Friel, during last week's abandoned game at Cliftonville.

With Johnny McMurray also out injured it meant Shevlin, who is still only 19, could play in his preferred striking role against Moyola Park. Kyle Owens opened the scoring for United before setting up Shevlin to finish from close range and after Tony Kane's made it 3-0 after the break, the striker wrapped things up with another to end the challenge of the Bluefin Premier Intermediate League outfit.

"When Bryan (McLoughlin) and I first joined we didn't get anything out of him at the end of that season because of injury and then he was a bit stop-start with injury last year," explained Jeffrey.

"We let him go out to Ards because Under-20s football wasn't doing him any good and that helped and we brought him back and put him on a longer contract.

"He broke his arm earlier in the season when we thought we could give him an opportunity, the injury prevented him doing that. He has come in and played out of position in the last few weeks but with Cathair out he gets back in that front slot.

"I thought Matthew dove-tailed well with Kevin (Braniff) and scored two great goals. Kevin is clever, takes up good positions and holds the ball up and Matthew is a willing runner, he has pace and never leaves defenders alone.

"It's his chance now. He's learning all the time and he has much to learn. But you can't coach talent, which he has and you can encourage attitude, but he is very positive in that and he's now getting his confidence and he's a willing listener and learner."

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Ervin, McCullough (McCune 84), Owens (Loughran 74), Balmer, Kane, McCaffrey, McAlorum, Shevlin, Braniff, McCloskey (Dobbin 84). Subs not used: Brennan, Faulkner, McKinney, McNeill.

Moyola Park: Farniok, Harris, McClure (Boyle 46), McQuillan, Hudson, Graham, Taggart (McIlhatton 46), McAuley, Rafferty, McCann, Young (Forrest 70). Subs not used: McNamee, Robinson, Evans.

Man of the match: Matthew Shevlin.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Portstewart).

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