Last Time Out

Last Time Out

COLERAINE would triumph in the BetMcLean Cup following the joint-third longest penalty shoot-out in history against Ballymena United early last month…


Tuesday, November 7, 2023


Ballymena United 1-1 (17-18 pens) Coleraine

Goals – Whiteside (’45 mins); Carson (’58 mins)


COLERAINE reached the quarter-final of the BetMcLean Cup after a mammoth 18-17 penalty shoot-out win against Ballymena United.

In what was a pulsating night on Warden Street, the game would finish 1-1 as the derby rivals couldn’t be separated across 120 minutes.

The Sky Blues would threaten first with just two minutes on the clock as a misplaced pass was seized upon by Ryan Waide who could only blaze his attempt over the crossbar. After Josh Carson would send a free-kick over the crossbar at the other end, Waide would go even closer on 11 minutes as his strike was held by Gareth Deane.

Jim Ervin’s side were creating plenty of half chances despite Coleraine enjoying much of the ball and Deane would be forced into action twice more by the half hour mark as he easily gathered Alexander Gawne’s low attempt, before coming out and making himself big to thwart Michael Place who burst into the box.

The Bannsiders would finally see opportunities coming their way as the half drew to a close as Lyndon Kane’s 25-yard effort needed the attentions of Sam Johnston. Soon after, Andy Mitchell chased down a through ball and had the vision to pick out Conor McKendry inside the box who saw his goal bound effort blocked.

However, it would be United who would strike first before half-time. A free-kick delivery by Steven McCullough was on the money for Scot Whiteside to head into the back of the net.

Oran Kearney made two changes at the break as Lee Lynch and David McDaid were introduced form the bench but it would be Ballymena who would threaten first as Donal Rocks’ long-range attempt was held by a grateful Deane.

On 59 minutes, parity would be restored as the Stripes were awarded a penalty after McDaid was fouled inside the area by Place. A confident Carson stepped up to drill home from 12 yards to level the game at 1-1.

The hosts instantly went in search of regaining their lead as Gawne fired over the bar after good hold-up play by Waide, whilst Whiteside was within a whisker of connecting to Isaac Westendorf’s flick-on from a corner-kick.

With ten minutes remaining, the Stripes had Deane to thank as Westendorf used his strength and pace to burst into the box. This allowed the Larne loanee to go one-on-one with the stopper but Deane came up trumps by smothering his effort.

The best opportunity Coleraine could muster up before the game entered extra-time was a low effort by McKendry which lacked any conviction and was easily gathered.

The first half of extra-time would prove to be a quiet affair as both teams created a chance apiece from distance but neither McDaid nor McCullough failed to find the target.

After the restart, Coleraine were intent of finding that precious third goal of the game and their eyes lit up when the ball landed at the feet of McDaid inside the box. The striker hit an instinctive effort towards goal but it was blocked by a resolute Ballymena defence.

Soon after, the Stripes would have the ball in the net through Michael McCrudden’s header but the linesman’s flag was quickly raised for offside. At the death, Dean Jarvis would pick out Lynch at the edge of the area but his curling effort went over the crossbar.

The game would therefore be decided by penalties as Carson netted first for Coleraine as Andy McGrory’s spot kick was saved. After Dean Jarvis and McCullough were successful from 12 yards, both teams would miss their third penalties as Kieran Farren and Place were both denied. Coleraine would go 3-1 ahead in the shoot-out through McCrudden meaning Westendorf had to score, which he did, to ensure the tie continued. The responsibility to ensure Coleraine’s passage through was down to Kane but his strike was saved as Gawne secured sudden death after making it 3-3.

The first eight spot kicks were all converted, however, Ballymena would have the chance to win when Lynch’s penalty was tipped around the post by Johnston. That opportunity would come and go for United as Corrie Burns’ spot kick went over the crossbar.

The next fourteen penalties would then be scored – including both goalkeepers – but it would be Coleraine who would blink first as it was Glackin who would this time be denied. Incredibly, the Braidmen would miss yet again to win the shoot-out as Noah Stewart’s penalty was palmed away by Deane.

With the score at 18-17 after further successful penalties – with Deane yet again on target – Coleraine would win the marathon shoot-out as United ‘keeper Johnston fired his attempt wide to cue bedlam in the away end.

The shoot-out was the joint-third longest in football history and one that will certainly be remembered for years to come.


BALLYMENA UNITED: Johnston, Nelson (Place ’17 mins), Burns, Rocks (McGrory ’91 mins), Whiteside, Gawne, Waide (’94 mins), McCullough, Taylor, Boyle, Westendorf.

Subs Not Used: O’Neill (GK), O’Boyle, Murray, Crawford.

COLERAINE: Deane, Kane, D. Jarvis, Kelly, McKendry, Carson, Farren, Glackin, Mitchell (McCrudden ’72 mins), Wallace (McDaid ’46 mins), Scott (Lynch ’46 mins).

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), A. Jarvis, O’Mahony, Devine.


Evan Boyce