Belfast Telegraph

In pictures: Ballymena United in narrow loss to Manchester United U23s

Ballymena United's Jude Winchester and Manchester United's Largie Ramazani during the game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Ballymena United's Jude Winchester and Manchester United's Largie Ramazani during the game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Ryan Mayse and Manchester United's Tedin Mengi during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Jude Winchester and Manchester United's Aidan Barlow during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Ross Lavery and Manchester United's Aidan Barlow during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Cathair Friel scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Cathair Friel scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Cathair Friel scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Jim Ervin and Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Cathair Friel scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's Dylan Levitt scores a penalty during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Kofi Balmer and Manchester United's Largie Ramazani during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's Dylan Levitt scores a penalty during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Leroy Millar and Manchester United's Largie Ramazani during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's Dylan Levitt scores a penalty during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Kofi Balmer and Manchester United's James Garner during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Cathair Friel scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Ballymena United Cathair Friel scores the opening goal against Manchester United U23 in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Manchester United U23 George Tanner and Ballymena United Kofi Balmer in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Manchester United U23 Anthony Elanga and Ballymena United Jude Winchester in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's D'Mani Mellor scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Ballymena United's Andrew McGrory scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Manchester United U23 Ethan Laird and Ballymena United Ross Lavery in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Manchester United U23 Aliou Traore and Ballymena United Scott Whiteside and Leroy Millar in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's Aidan Barlow scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's Aidan Barlow scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Manchester United U23 Largie Ramazzani and Ballymena United Leroy Millar in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 29th July 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Manchester United U23 Aliou Traore and Ballymena United Kofi Balmer in the challenge match of the STATSports SuperCupNI , at Ballymena Showgrounds . Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 29/7/2019 Ballymena United v Manchester United SuperCup NI U23 Challenge Game. Manchester United's Aidan Barlow scores during this evenings game at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

By Keith Bailie

Manchester United's stars of the future dazzled at the Ballymena Showgrounds last night.

In a one-off StatSport SuperCupNI friendly fixture, Quinton Fortune and Neil Woods' team played out a highly entertaining seven-goal thriller against David Jeffrey's Ballymena United.

While Manchester United's Under-23s ran out 4-3 winners, the Irish League side held their own, with Cathair Friel causing the young Red Devils more than a few problems.

United's teenage quartet of Dyllan Levitt, D'Marni Mellor, Aidan Barlow and Arnau Puigmal were all on target for the Old Trafford youngsters, who had trailed to an early Friel header.

Later in the game, Andy McGrory and Ryan Harpur both found the net for the Sky Blues, who looked in fine nick ahead of the new Danske Bank Premiership season.

Ethan Laird was the first United starlet to try his luck, but an alert Ross Glendinning made a smart fourth-minute save.

At the other end, Friel kept United on their toes. He was rewarded with a goal in the 16th minute after some fine work down the flank by new signing Ross Lavery. Friel was on hand to place his powerful header beyond the reach of Paul Woolston.

Jim Ervin handed the visitors a way back into the game when he clipped George Tanner inside the area in the 29th minute. Levitt tucked home the spot-kick.

United had the lead five minutes later courtesy of a tidy finish from Mellor, who scored after a pull back from the right.

Leroy Miller really should have equalised on the stroke of half-time, but he failed to control the ball inside the area and the chance slipped away. United went into the break 2-1 up.

It was 3-1 on the hour mark. Forward Barlow broke into the area and slotted past Ballymena's substitute goalkeeper Jordan Williamson.

Despite being two goals behind, Ballymena refused to give in. When Friel was fouled in the 69th minute, it gave McGrory the chance to score from the spot. He made no mistake, making it 3-2.

Steven McCullough almost equalised from a free-kick, but after a scramble the ball was gathered by the visiting goalkeeper.

United ended the game as a contest in the 84th minute after a slick passing move. Williamson made a good save, but Puigmal was on hand to score the rebound.

But still the United of Ballymena refused to surrender. They pulled a goal back in the 88th minute when Harpur converted a low Friel cross.

It proved to be a consolation, with Ballymena unable to find an equaliser in the final stages of the game. Despite that, Jeffrey will be pleased with his team's performance, while the large crowd at The Showgrounds witnessed seven goals and a hugely entertaining game of football.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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