Burns on target in Old Boys’ draw

Ronnie Burns scored for Ballynure OB in Saturday's 1-1 draw.
Ronnie Burns scored for Ballynure OB in Saturday's 1-1 draw.

The clash between two former Ballymena Premier League title holders, Newtowne and Ballynure Old Boys, ended in a draw.

The two top teams served up excellent football in Limavady, where both keepers made fine saves to limit the final score to 1-1.

The first half was mainly a midfield battle, and with defences having the upper-hand there was little goalmouth activity.

The hosts had the better of the first quarter without troubling goalkeeper Willie Lee, but then Gary Burns’ lads began to take over.

Ronnie Burns had one effort cleared off the line, and later the keeper advanced to block from the same player.

Seconds before half-time, Burns broke the deadlock with a back-post volley, following a neat build-up involving former Ballyclare Comrades duo, Andy Forsythe and Ricky Higgins.

Ballynure carried the momentum in to the second session and only a fine save by the home keeper prevented Josh McIlroy from increasing the lead, after having been played in behind the defence by impressive midfielder Forsythe.

The keeper came to the rescue again when he clutched a Burns header, but Ballynure were forced on to the back foot for a time, during which a Newtowne striker touched in the equaliser after Lee had parried the initial effort.

Moments later Lee pulled off a brilliant save when a home striker was clean through, and in a tense finish both teams came close to clinching the points.

First Burns fired over from a favourable position, while a home striker’s shot finished in the side-netting.

“This was a very entertaining match between two good teams, and a draw was a fair result,” concluded Ballynure chairman, Michael Graham.

Ballynure OB: Lee; Penny, G Curlett, Leckey, M Curlett; Gray, Duff, Forsythe, McIlroy; Burns, R Higgins. Subs: D Higgins for McIlroy; McFall for Gray, Robinson for Penny.

Saturday’s match: away to Desertmartin.