Football: Dungannon Swifts swept aside by Ballymena United

Press Eye - Danske Bank Premiership - Dungannon Swifts v Ballymena United - 9th April 2016
Photograph By Declan Roughan

Dungannon' Swifts  Andrew Mitchell and Ballymena United's Paddy Mc Nally
Press Eye - Danske Bank Premiership - Dungannon Swifts v Ballymena United - 9th April 2016 Photograph By Declan Roughan Dungannon' Swifts Andrew Mitchell and Ballymena United's Paddy Mc Nally

Despite seeing Dungannon Swifts swept aside by Ballymena United, Rodney McAree insists complacency has not set in at Stangmore Park.

The finishing line is within sight with just four rounds of matches to go. And, with Swifts all but safe, the final games hold only limited importance.

At times on Saturday it seemed as if some players were already in holiday mode, with the Sky Blues punishing a series of careless errors.

But McAree does not believe that is the case, and is happy to write this off as a blip in an otherwise highly satisfactory 2016 programme.

Asked if complacency was a factor, McAree replied: “I don’t think so. We had a couple within the camp who played who had been suffering from the flu all week.

“I’m not using that as an excuse, but maybe it means you are not as sharp as what you normally are. I wouldn’t like to think it is complacency because we’re together, the changing room is together and everybody is happy. Everyone wants to finish as high up the table as we possibly can.”

McAree revealed that three players have signed new contracts, Cormac Burke, Andrew Burns and Stuart Addis have agreeing two-year extensions.

Dungannon lost this game in the first 35 minutes, when they conceded four times.

The first came inside six minutes. Jonny Frazer rose highest to meet a cross from Stephen McBride but saw his header bounce off the bar.

Unfortunately for Swifts, it landed invitingly for Darren Henderson, who nodded home. It was typical of his ability to poach a goal - a quality seen regularly during a six-month loan spell with Dungannon two seasons ago.

Ballymena’s second came in the 16th minute. A corner from David Cushley caused chaos in the home box. After several attempts to clear had failed, Kyle McVey lashed the ball home.

Dungannon needed a fast response and got it through Jamie Glackin. Burns played a one-two with Burke and raced forward to pull the ball back for Glackin to side-foot home.

But Ballymena pushed on and scored two more quick goals. An attempt to catch Henderson offside on a counter-attack was ruined by Jarlath O’Rourke sitting too deeply. Henderson ran clear before slotting coolly past the goalkeeper.

The fourth goal arrived less than three minutes later. A ball down the right wing released Tony Kane, who swept over a terrific cross for Frazer to head home.

Dungannon tried to make a game of it in the second half.

Andrew Mitchell went close after being teed up by substitute Terry Fitzpatrick, but his miscued effort was blocked by the keeper’s foot.

A clever pass from Glackin played in Ally Teggart, but he too was thwarted by Alan Blayney.

However, the Swifts’ persistence paid off when they scored in stoppage time.

Another good ball from Glackin released Mitchell. He cut inside, beat a series of defenders and slotted home from close range, but it was no more than a consolation score.

Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Burns, Hegarty, Armstrong, O’Rourke, Harpur, Hazley (Fitzpatrick, 46), Glackin, Burke (Liggett, 46), Teggart, Mitchell. Subs not used: Addis, McCaffrey

Ballymena United: Blayney, T Kane, McBride, Faulkner (Millar, 85), McVey, Ervin, McNally, Frazer (E Kane, 67), Jenkins, Cushley (Ruddy, 79), Henderson. Subs not used: Nelson, Hanley

Referee:

Tim Marshall, Irvinestown