Belfast Telegraph

McAree's magic words helped Dungannon Swifts beat Ballymena: McElroy

Dungannon Swifts 2 Ballymena United 1

By Adrian Rutherford

Paul McElroy revealed a half-time dressing down was the inspiration behind Dungannon Swifts' second half comeback against Ballymena United.

The striker, who had been without a league goal since 2016, made it two in as many games.

His penalty levelled the match, after the Sky Blues had seen Willie Faulkner controversially sent off for handling on the line. Just two minutes later, Ryan Mayse completed the comeback against a United side who had taken the lead through Leroy Millar.

McElroy said: "We were disappointed to go in 1-0 down at half-time. I think out of the two teams we had the better chances. Rod (McAree) gave us a bit of a rollicking and we've responded well."

Ballymena boss David Jeffrey was reluctant to discuss the referee afterwards, however he conceded the penalty decision turned the game.

"In the first half I thought we played very well," he said.

"We knew Dungannon would come back into it, and so they did, but there is absolutely no doubt that the penalty and the sending off changed the game dramatically.

"I spoke to William Faulkner at length and he confirmed there was no deliberate attempt to handle the ball."

Dungannon: Addis, Lowe, McMenamin (Hutchinson, 79 mins), Hegarty, Teggart (Fitzpatrick, 90 mins), Wilson, Harpur, Burke, Mayse, McMahon (O'Rourke, 56 mins), McElroy. Unused subs: Coleman, Lockhart

Ballymena: Brennan, Burns (Kane, 81 mins), Owens, McCullough, Ervin, Faulkner, Gault, McCaffrey (Braniff, 74 mins), Thompson, Millar, Friel (McCloskey, 83 mins). Unused subs: Glendinning, Flynn

Man of the match: Cormac Burke

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

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