Ballymena beat Linfield on penalties in Co Antrim Shield final

Ballymena lifted their first trophy since 1989 by beating Linfield 4-3 on penalties after the County Antrim Shield final finished 1-1 at the Oval.

United took the lead in the 23rd minute when David Munster headed beyond the reach of keeper Ross Glendinning.

Linfield equalised 16 minutes from time through a Brian McCaul penalty after Munster's foul on Michael Carvill.

In the shoot-out former Linfield keeper Stuart Addis saved two penalties before Alan Davidson scored the winning kick.

Aaron Stewart of Ballymena battles for possession with Linfield's Gary Browne
Aaron Stewart of Ballymena battles for possession with Linfield's Gary Browne

"I had practised penalties in training on Thursday night and knew what I was going to do if I had to take one," said Davidson.

"I picked my spot and thankfully it went in.

"The fans deserve it after waiting for 23 years for some silverware.

"Ballymena were the third best supported team in the league last season and I am glad we have something to show for it."

The Sky Blues' triumph came just a couple of weeks after they were crushed 6-0 by Linfield in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

Linfield, seeking a record 42nd Shield success, had been forced to bring in 19-year-old stand-in keeper Glendinning for the Oval final as regular number one Alan Blayney had picked up a leg injury in training.

The young keeper was beaten midway through the first half when defender Munster put Ballymena into the lead.

Munster looped his header beyond the reach of Glendinning after David Cushley's original header had come off the crossbar.

The Premiership champions almost hit back quickly when Michael Gault played the ball in for Michael Carvill but the finishing shot came off an upright with keeper Stuart Addis beaten.

Linfield brought on striker Peter Thompson as a half-time substitute, the ex-Northern Ireland international replacing former Ballymena player Nathan Hanley.

Jamie Mulgrew saw a volley go just wide for Linfield who missed a great chance when Carvill lofted over when put through.

Defender David Armstrong then saw his point-blank volley blocked by the legs of Addis.

Linfield got their equaliser when Munster brought down Carvill who had got in behind the United defender.

McCaul, just on as a substitute, beat Addis from the spot for 1-1.

Ballymena almost snatched it in stoppage-time when Glendinning tipped over a free-kick by Alan Davidson.

There were no goals in the 20 minutes of extra time, so the final went to penalties.

Linfield were ahead after the first two kicks as Jim Ervin scored and Glendinning dived to save Jamie Davidson's effort.

But Addis then saved from Armstrong and David Cushley made it 1-1.

Linfield's Carvill and McCaul and Ballymena's Tony Kane and Allan Jenkins netted, but then sub Daryl Fordyce's kick was saved and Alan Davidson stepped up to make history for United whose last major trophy had been the 1989 Irish Cup.

Ballymena: Addis, Kane, Munster (Jenkins 82), Stewart, Black, Surgenor, Thompson, A Davidson, Bingham (J Davidson 65), Costello (McCabe 97), Cushley.

Linfield: Glendinning, Armstrong, Gault, Murphy, Carvill, Hanley (Thompson 45), Browne (Fordyce 60), Garrett (McCaul 72), Ervin, Mulgrew, Black.