Belfast Telegraph

David Jeffrey hails 'magnificent' young duo as Ballymena end winless run

Joshua Kelly celebrates scoring his first ever Premiership goal.
Joshua Kelly celebrates scoring his first ever Premiership goal.

Ballymena United had two unfamiliar heroes to thank for their first Danske Bank Premiership victory in over two months.

David Jeffrey's side edged Crusaders 1-0 on Saturday afternoon thanks to some late drama at Seaview.

Substitute Joshua Kelly smashed home the game's only goal from 30-yards on 88 minutes but he had to thank his goalkeeper for ensuring it would be the winner.

The Crues raced up the pitch to win an injury-time penalty only for former Braidman David Cushley to see his spot-kick saved a goalkeeper making only his second Premiership appearance.

Jordan Williamson signed for the Sky Blues midway through last season and, at 24, Jeffrey is keen to accelerate his development.

"Jordan came up with an absolutely fantastic save," the manager told Radio Ulster. "We decided to bring Jordan in. Ross Glendinning has been in marvellous form but we've tried to give Jordan as much time (as possible) for his development with cup games. We just thought on this occasion to see how he can deal with the pressure of this for his development.

"I thought he was manificent. His handling, his kicking, were superb but to save a penalty from David Cushley, who is usually deadly...

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"No matter where he places them, he usually hits the ball with such power but Jordan got down, got a really strong hand to it and I'm desperately proud of him and the rest of the players."

The boss has similarly positive words for 20-year-old Kelly, who netted his first ever Premiership goal, having joined Ballymena in the summer from Ards.

"It was a fabulous strike by Josh," said Jeffrey. "He is a young man we identified some time ago and were able to sign him in the summer. He works extremely hard in training and is always willing to learn. He has that in his repertoire. It was a magnificent strike and one worthy to win the game."

The win sent Ballymena three points clear of Glenavon and Dungannon in ninth and tenth and keeps them within a point of seventh-placed Carrick, even if they have played a game more.

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