Crusaders have dramatically improved their record in recent weeks after a shaky start to the season, winning four of their past five games. In particular, The Hatchetmen immediately “recovered” from the setback they experienced last Saturday when they fell to Larne (1-4) by defeating Coleraine 2-1 in the middle of the week. With the win, they moved back up to third place in the standings and currently have 29 points.
Ballymena, meanwhile, have arrived at a moment where their reality is the battle for mid-table. Ballymena has improved recently, but it is still impossible to say that they have had a rebirth. The well-known “Sky Blues” are near the bottom of the standings, specifically in ninth place with 14 points so far this season. Ballymena lost to Newry City last weekend, their second loss in the previous three games, in the waning moments of the game.
In our opinion, Crusaders can and ought to be able to generate a sizable amount of opportunities and effective attempts on goal. Ballymena United, on the other hand, could struggle to produce a goal of their own, however we believe they will eventually score a response. At the game’s conclusion, we expect Crusaders will have a decisive 3-1 lead.
Head to Head
Examining their previous meetings, which date back to 02/04/2021, reveals that Crusaders has won 5, Ballymena United 1, and there have been no draws. Between the two teams, a total of 13 goals were scored during this time, with 9 goals coming from The Hatchetmen and 4 from Sky Blues. There are 2.17 goals scored on average each game. The teams’ most recent league encounter took place on Premiership Match Day 8 on September 23, 2022, with Crusaders defeating Ballymena United 3-0. Ian McNabb served as the referee.
Goalkeeper- Jonathan Tuffey
Defenders- Jarlath O’Rourke, Billy Joe Burns, Chris Hegarty
Midfielders- Robbie Weir, Rory McKeown, Philip Lowry, McCauley Snelgrove, Jude Winchester
Forwards- Ross Clarke, Adam Lecky
Ballymena United lineup
Goalkeeper- Sean O’Neill
Defenders- Kym Nelson, Steven McCullough, Conor Keeley, Ross Redman
Midfielders- Jack Henderson, Mikey Place, Scott Whiteside, Kenny Kane
Forwards- David McDaid, Jordan Gibson
Since the Crusaders defeated Ballymena (3-0) in their season-opening match to establish themselves as heavy favourites, nothing less than a dominant victory for the home team is predicted this time around. Given that they have defeated Ballymena and scored at least two goals in each of their last four league encounters, the Crues will be optimistic going into the game with them. A new triumph appears to be just around the corner! The NIFL Premiership title of best home team currently belongs to Crusaders. The fact that they won six of their seven home games and drew one supports the claim that “Seaview” is an invincible fortress. The Crues have a tonne of offensive potential, so it’s no surprise that their 31 goals scored give them the league’s top offence.
A minimum of three goals were scored in each of their six domestic victories, it should be emphasised. While this season, Ballymena has continually had issues with their away performance. The Sky Blues have little chance of winning in Belfast after collecting only one point from their last five away games. Ballymena’s poor road performance might be a major issue when they meet the championship contenders on Monday. Because of this, bookmakers justifiably branded them as large outsiders. The Crues will, in our opinion, control the entire 90 minutes and triumph resoundingly.
Where to watch
SKY GO Extra, Sky Sports Fooball
SKY GO Extra, Sky Sports Fooball
Date: Monday, 14th, November 2022
Competition: Northern Ireland – NIFL Premiership
Kickoff: 19:45 UK/20.45 CET
Venue: Seaview (Belfast)