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Jeffrey joy as Jude fires Sky Blues into final four

Ards 0-1 Ballymena United

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Late, late show: James Knowles (left) and Jude Winchester show their relief after Ballymena United snatched a late victory over Ards last night

Late, late show: James Knowles (left) and Jude Winchester show their relief after Ballymena United snatched a late victory over Ards last night

PMAKER

Late, late show: James Knowles (left) and Jude Winchester show their relief after Ballymena United snatched a late victory over Ards last night

Ballymena United's incredible run continued last night, thanks to a last gasp Jude Winchester goal.

The midfielder's deflected shot in the second minute of stoppage time was enough to give United a 1-0 win over a dogged Ards side on a miserable night in Bangor.

Winchester's injury time goal was enough to book Ballymena's place in the semi-finals of the BetMcLean League Cup, a competition they last won in 2017.

Sky Blues boss David Jeffrey said: "We created many chances but didn't take them. The great quality I saw was that when you don't take the chances then you become weakened emotionally, but we kept going and going right to the end and got our just reward.

"It's a tough place to come and I'm delighted Jude Winchester got the goal as he was disappointed with earlier missed opportunities."

Winchester had two chances to score in the first half. He swapped passes with Steven McCullough before hitting the side-netting in the 23rd minute, then two minutes before the break he was denied from the angle by goalkeeper Jason Mooney.

Ards' best first half effort came in the 29th minute when Jonny Frazer flashed a 20-yard half volley just past the post.

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Ballymena manager David Jeffrey tried to changes things in the second half, introducing Johnny McMurray, James Knowles and Andy McGrory in an audacious treble substitution with 13 minutes left on the clock.

It had the desired effect, with Leroy Millar soon hitting the crossbar and Adam Lecky finding the side netting with seven minutes left to play.

Ards had a great chance to win the game with three minute left on the clock when Jonny Frazer picked out sub Marc McKenna, but he blazed the ball over the goal from just inside the area.

With extra-time looming, Ards pushed numbers up for a stoppage time corner-kick, but when Kym Nelson's set-piece was over-hit, Ballymena sprung into action.

A counter-attack soon turned into pinball inside the Ards area, with Jude Winchester finding the net with the help of at least one deflection to put Ballymena into the semi-finals.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, a scramble inside the Ballymena area gifted Mark Kelly an open net, but he steered his shot agonisingly wide.

ARDS: Mooney; Byers, McAleenan, Taylor, McClean; E McAllister (Mitchell, 71 mins), J. Kelly, Nelson, D McAllister (McKenna, 80 mins); Boyd (M Kelly, 45 mins), Frazer.

Subs not used: Johnston, Kerr, Cherry, Tommons.

BALLYMENA UNITED: Ross Glendinning; Addis, Ervin, Whiteside; Reece Glendinning (McGrory, 67 mins), Winchester, Millar, T Kane (Knowles, 67 mins), McCullough; Lecky, Friel (McMurray, 67 mins).


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