Ballymena United 2 Dungannon Swifts 2

A point gained or two dropped? Not for the first time this season fans were left with mixed emotions as a late equaliser denied Dungannon Swifts.
This was a match Dungannon should have won but could easily have lost.
In one of the games of the season to date, they appeared on course for a rare league victory after coming from behind to lead Ballymena.
However, a late equaliser from substitute Ally Teggart saw the home team rescue a point.
The draw, a creditable result away to an improving Ballymena side, was enough to move Dungannon off the bottom, albeit only on goal difference.
After a drab first half, marked only by Allan Jenkins’ goal two minutes before the break, the game came alive in the second period.
Abby Sanusi equalised 30 seconds after the restart with a superb individual strike, before laying the second on a plate for substitute Gary Liggett.
A bit more composure and quality in front of goal would have brought the points-clinching third.
Instead, the dismissal of Sanusi eight minutes from the end was the impetus for a late Ballymena charge, beginning with Teggart’s equaliser.
In a breathless finish, the home side spurned two inviting chances while Liggett also failed to convert when clean through in the final moments.
Darren Murphy seemed content with a draw, which is understandable given Swifts’ precarious position in the table.
By contrast Ballymena boss Glenn Ferguson was relieved, claiming his side had “stolen” a point after a poor performance.
Dungannon could have gone ahead in the 20th minute when Matt Hazley threaded a pass through to Sanusi – the game’s standout player – but his strike was blocked.
At the other end David Cushley caught everyone out by slipping his free-kick to Darren Boyce, who dashed in behind the visitors’ defence but shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Ryan Harpur made his first league appearance after almost two months out, and was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch.
Already booked for a challenge on Cushley, he was involved in two fouls shortly afterwards which could have resulted in a second yellow.
Jenkins’ goal just before half-time helped quell the home crowd’s ire at his continued presence.
A free-kick was headed on and Matthew Tipton’s clever back-heel found Jenkins, who controlled before firing home with a left-foot effort.
It was a huge blow to Dungannon – and at a crucial time in the game – but they equalised immediately after the restart.
Sanusi took a pass from Jamie Douglas before letting fly with a left-footed half-volley from 25 yards.
Dungannon had a great chance to go in front when Douglas set up David McCullough, but his effort was cleared off the line by Stephen McBride.
Andy Coleman pulled off a tremendous save to keep out Jenkins’ header, before the visitors took the lead.
Sanusi was the architect, pulling the ball across goal for Liggett who came sliding in to convert with a simple left-foot prod.
However, the winger’s afternoon ended early when he received a second booking.
Ballymena took full advantage, drawing level two minutes later. Tony Kane’s long-range pass was headed on for Teggart, whose effort was deflected in by David Armstrong.
The home side pushed for a winner, and Tipton rattled the woodwork with an angled drive.
Tipton then turned provider for Boyce but, eight yards out and with the game at stake, the striker totally missed his kick.
In a crazy finish, Cameron Grieve thumped the ball clear – but it turned into a perfect pass for Liggett. He ran clear of everyone, only to fire straight at the goalkeeper.
BALLYMENA UTD: Nelson, Kane, Stewart, Taylor, McBride (Teggart, 80), Gawley, Thompson (Taggart, 68), Jenkins, Cushley, Tipton, Boyce
Subs not used: Ruddy, Surgenor, McVey
DGN SWIFTS: Coleman, Burns, Armstrong, McCaffrey, Grieve, McCullough, Harpur (Glackin, 46, Brennan, 80), Hazley, Fitzpatrick, Sanusi, Douglas (Liggett, 64)
Subs not used: Barton, Mitchell
Referee: John Deighan (Limavady)