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Ballymena United roar to County Antrim Shield triumph!

Ballymena United are celebrating after they secured their first silverware for 23 years, with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Linfield!

After a pulsating 90 minutes, plus extra time, the teams were deadlocked at 1-1, and it came down to the much-maligned penalty shootout to decide a winner. Midfielder Alan Davidson held his nerve to score the decisive spot kick after Sky Blues keeper Stuart Addis saved twice, and it was party-time for the travelling United fans!

The win came against the odds - not only were Ballymena taking on the League Champions, but the game came on the back of some heavy defeats which could have knocked the team's confidence; and Manager Glenn 'Spike' Ferguson - who's a proud member of Team Kukri in his day job, too - was delighted to land a trophy after just 11 months as Sky Blues boss.

"First and foremost I'm absolutely delighted for the players, those who played and those who were in the squad," said Spike.

"The last couple of weeks haven't been easy after 6-0 and 8-0 defeats but I thought they showed fantastic character tonight.

"We put up a good fight against the league champions and I think we deserved to win over the course of 110 minutes.

"Linfield had a lot of the play but Stuarty Addis didn't have a lot of saves to make.

"I'm delighted for the players and fans - they will enjoy their night and deservedly so.

"I told the boys at half-time that Linfield wouldn't lie down so we were going to have to be determined and dig in at times.

"We practised penalties last night in training and the boys were confident so we were ready for it.

"Stuart Addis has obviously worked with those Linfield players over the past four or five years and I'm sure he's been up against a few penalties from them so he maybe had a wee edge on them - he did brilliantly to save two penalties."

Ferguson insists United won't rest on their laurels after their long-awaited success, stressing that he wants to continue to take the club forward.

"I'm hoping that some good players who are surplus to requirements at other clubs might look at coming to a club like us who have an opportunity to win trophies.

"We're always looking to attract better players because by doing that we become a better team and a better club.

"Our aim this season was to finish in the top six in the league and win a trophy and that's the first one done but we won't get too carried away because it's a long road," added Ferguson.
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Friday 27-06-2014