Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Three top goals as Crusaders and Ballymena go through to County Antrim Shield final

Ballymena United will face Crusaders in the Toals County Antrim Shield final.

The Braidmen earned their spot in the decider with a 3-0 victory over Ards on Tuesday evening, while Crusaders edged past Carrick Rangers 1-0.

The final is scheduled for Tuesday, January 23.

Ballymena United 3-0 Ards

United did the damage early at the Showgrounds as Steven McCullough curled home a vicious free-kick from wide on the right flank just six minutes in.

And on 13 minutes, one of the best counter-attacks you're likely to see provided the second. An Ards free-kick went wrong, allowing Ballymena to counter-attack through a lung-busting Johnny McMurray run. His left-wing cross was deliciously flicked into the path of Cathair Friel who beat the keeper and Conor McCloskey converted at the back post.

Tony Kane saw a penalty saved but Friel capped the win with a late goal after McMurray had smashed the bar from long range.

United have made it through to their first Shield final since they won the competition in the 12-13 season.

Crusaders 1-0 Carrick Rangers

The Crues were beaten finalists last season but are through to this year's decider thanks to Jordan Owens' first-half strike.

A typically telling piece of skill by Paul Heatley worked space to cross from the left and Jordan Owens was perfectly placed to head home unmarked at the back post.

Mark Clarke was later sent off for Carrick as Crusaders look for their seventh Shield success.

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