Ballymena secure victory in Mid and East Antrim derby clash

Ballymena United earned their first points of the 2023/24 Sports Direct Irish Premiership season on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 victory over Carrick Rangers.
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Isaac Westendorf, on loan at the Sky Blues from Larne, got the only goal of the tie, scoring from the spot on 26 minutes.

Speaking to Carrick’s media team after the match, manager Stuart King said: “We didn’t start off well at all. I thought our levels from Tuesday night and coming in today were chalk and cheese. It’s not acceptable.

"There seems to be a recurring theme where we’ve gone on a good run and we’ve an opportunity to kick on, we always seem to mess it up for one reason or another. We weren’t at it today.

Stuart King. (Carrick Rangers).Stuart King. (Carrick Rangers).
Stuart King. (Carrick Rangers).

"They got loads of plaudits this week. Effort wasn’t what it was on Tuesday night. Quality wasn’t what it was on Tuesday night.

Read More
Co Antrim Shield: Larne and Carrick progress to next round

"I believe in my lads- the quality is there. I just think that sometimes they need to break the barriers down to take us to the next level.”

Next up in the league, the east Antrim side face an away trip to Glenavon on Saturday (3pm).

King added: “We know we’ve to come in and knuckle down. We know that if we don’t win first or second balls, we’re going to struggle. We’ve went there over the last few years and we’ve done okay. We’ll dust ourselves down, take today on the chin and prepare as best we can for Saturday.”

Carrick will face Dundela at the Loughview Leisure Arena in the quarter-final of the Co Antrim Shield on October 10.

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades rescued a 2-2 draw away to Ards in the Playr Fit Teamwear NIFL Championship thanks to two late goals.

Ethan Taggart opened the scoring for the home side on 14 minutes before Adam McCallum found the net on 72, putting his side in a comfortable position with under 20 minutes left to play.

However, Callum Ferris pulled one back for the visitors on 81 before Owen McConville headed home on 88 to ensure both sides would earn a point apiece.

The Comrades welcome Annagh United to Dixon Park on Saturday (3pm).