Belfast Telegraph

Wray shines for skye blues

Ballymena Utd 2 Coleraine 0

By Billy Weir

It was a day for unlikely heroes as the curtain came down on a roller-coaster season at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

John Neill was the Coleraine's knight in shining armour as he came to the rescue when Davy O'Hare limped out of not just this match but possibly the Irish Cup Final too.

The Bannsiders' goalkeeper has picked up a reoccurrence of the calf strain that ruled him out of action for six weeks earlier in the season and now faces a massive race against time for the Linfield showdown.

For the Sky Blues there was an unlikely saviour, defender Thomas Wray popping up with two second-half goals to claim the derby spoils and ended the home campaign on a high.

Marty Quinn's thoughts though were on his goalkeepers and the opportunities his side spurned in an enterprising opening period by the visitors.

"It's a major blow for us and that's my main concern at this moment in time," he explained.

"Having said that I thought we played some good football in the first-half, we were excellent, passed the ball well but the only problem was we didn't take our chances as we did last week against Portadown.

"We got hit by two set-pieces and the organisational ability of O'Hare was missing in those situations, but I can't fault the boys.

"John did very well and I said to him jokingly after the game that I think I might have found the right position for him! I spoke to my physio about Davy and intensive treatment but he says it's not an injury you can treat like that.

"Lawrence McCormick has been playing away in the reserves and he'll come back and certainly play in the next couple of games."

He'll certainly want his defenders to be more alert than three minutes after the break when Wray was granted all the space he wanted to head home Garth Scates' corner.

They failed to learn their lesson and in the 69th minute Neill was again left stranded as Albert Watson this time met Scates' centre and the ball deflected in off Wray.

Earlier Marty Hunter and Jody Tolan wasted glorious chances before Neill did well to save from Kelbie but once the goals came there was only ever one team in it.

"I'm really pleased for the players because it has been a long hard run since the New Year where we haven't picked up nearly enough points," said Wright.

"I don't think anybody could say we didn't deserve it, irrespective of whether the goalkeeper got injured or not. John Neill did excellently, made a super save from Kevin Kelbie in the first-half and two or three near the end."

BALLYMENA: Murphy 6, Wray 8, McClean 7, Haveron 7, Albert Watson 7, Kelly 7, Scates 7, Aidan Watson 6, Ward 6 (Picking 84, 5), Kelbie 6 (McNeill 78, 5), King 6

COLERAINE: O'Hare 5 (Heneghan 9, 6), Beverland 6, R. McLaughlin 6, Neill 7, McVey 6, P. McLaughlin 6, Dooley 5 (Hutchinson 65, 5), Patton 6, Tolan 5 (Hunter 65, 5), McCallion 6, Carson 6

REFEREE: Trevor Moutray (Dundonald) 7

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