Jonte Smith Scores Twice For Ballymena United

October 14, 2021

Bermuda’s Jonte Smith scored twice for Ballymena United as they played to a 3-2 victory over the Crusaders in the Northern Ireland League Cup.

“The club’s match report said, “A Jonte Smith goal in the last minute of extra-time gave a hugely impressive Ballymena United a massive 3-2 win over Crusaders at Seaview in the 3rd round of the BetMcLean League Cup on Wednesday night.

“Hoping the League Cup would provide some form of relief from a difficult run in the league, Ballymena started well and were ahead inside six minutes. The visitors won a free kick wide left, and Ross Redman’s cross was headed home neatly by Jonte Smith who rose highest for his third goal in Sky Blue.

“United continued their strong start and Andy McGrory’s high, long ball forward found Smith, who took it down well before seeing his shot saved. There wasn’t much goalmouth action for much of the half after those chances, but Ballymena were probably the better side as they looked in their best condition of the season so far.

“On forty minutes, as Ballymena closed in on a half time lead that they’d have been good value for, Crusaders equalised with a poor goal to concede.

“Despite the leveller, the Braidmen almost found time to regain the lead before the break, but Loughran was unlucky to see his back post header come off the crossbar.

“United had a great chance to regain the lead within two minutes of the restart when another fine move ended with Smith playing in Andy McGrory, but with Tuffey closing him down he lifted his effort over the ‘keeper but wide of goal. It was end to end afterwards as Kennedy placed a free kick just wide, before Leroy Millar saw a good chance well saved, in a move that had been created by Millar, Winchester and Jack Henderson, who were all top quality over the course of the game.

“On ninety-eight minutes the away side saw a huge chance to retake the lead pass them by when Bramall’s low ball across the box fell to McGrory, but despite him and Redman impressing, he dragged his shot wide from a great position. However, on the stroke of the half time whistle, Ballymena did go 2-1 ahead through a Bramall goal of the season contender. Millar found Bramall in an innocuous position on the left, but the Englishmen cut in before unleashing a truly incredible thirty yard effort into the top corner past Tuffey, who had no chance.

“Eight minutes into the second half of extra time the hosts levelled the tie up for second time through Owens. Crusaders worked it well down the right and from the byline Billy Joe Burns crossed for Owens who found space in the middle of the box to draw the game level.

“The goal was created by Bramall, who continued to terrorise the home side on the wing, as he skipped by Burns and crossed for Smith, who directed his header into the bottom corner to seal the win and spark big celebrations in front of the travelling support.”

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