Ballymena United 1 - 3 Portadown

Irish Cup - Semi final
Saturday, March 21st, 2015, 5:30 PM at The Oval
Referee: Andrew Davey
Ballymena United  Portadown

Goalscorers
Darren Henderson (70)
Mark McAllister (4)
Michael Gault (15)
Peter McMahon (27)

Team Managers
Glenn Ferguson
Ronnie McFall

Starting Eleven
Dwayne Nelson
Jim Ervin
Jonathan Taylor
Patrick McNally
Stephen McBride
Tony Kane
Allan Jenkins
Gary Thompson
David Cushley
Gary McCutcheon
Matthew Tipton
David Miskelly
Garry Breen
Keith O'Hara
Ross Redman
Sean Mackle
Michael Gault
Tim Mouncey
Peter McMahon
Shea Conaty
Mark McAllister
Gary Twigg

Substitutes
Stuart Addis
Mark Surgenor
Alan Teggart
Brian McCaul
Darren Henderson
Darren Murray
Billy Brennan
Christian Stewart
Jordan Lyttle
Padraig Judge

Substitutions
Darren Henderson for Gary McCutcheon (46)
Alan Teggart for Patrick McNally (59)
Darren Murray for Gary Twigg (73)

Bookings
None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Dwayne Nelson (GK) 204 apps -
Jim Ervin 29 apps1 goal
Jonathan Taylor 103 apps11 goals
Tony Kane 147 apps9 goals
Stephen McBride 54 apps -
Patrick McNally 8 apps -
Allan Jenkins 155 apps31 goals
Gary Thompson 107 apps14 goals
David Cushley 194 apps49 goals
Matthew Tipton 42 apps17 goals
Gary McCutcheon 99 apps52 goals
Alan Teggart (sub) 158 apps28 goals
Darren Henderson (sub) 57 apps19 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Patrick McNally (20 years 218 days)
Oldest Player:Gary McCutcheon (36 years 173 days)
Average Player Age:29 years 115 days
Domestic Players:8 (72.73 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Patrick McNally (20 years 218 days)
Oldest Player:Gary McCutcheon (36 years 173 days)
Average Player Age:29 years 128 days
Domestic Players:13 (81.25 % of matchday squad)

BALLYMENA United's Irish Cup run ended in Semi Final defeat to Portadown on Saturday with the Sky Blues producing arguably their worst first half performance of the season.

Portadown could have taken the lead as early as the third minute but Mark McAllister shot over the crossbar after good link up play with strike partner Gary Twigg. This wasn't to dampen McAllister's spirits however, as the former Linfield striker duly opened the scoring barely a minute later after charging down Paddy McNally's attempted clearance before placing the ball beyond Dwayne Nelson in the United goal.

Nelson was called into action again moments later but this time managed to palm away Sean Mackle's effort from his near post before United finally fashioned a chance of their own as Tony Kane dragged an effort wide of goal from the edge of the area. This was to prove a mere flash in the pan as Portadown doubled their lead just moments later through Michael Gault. The midfielder drilled in a shot from the right hand side which Jim Ervin cleared off the line but the ball fell straight back to the former Linfield captain who made no mistake the second time around to leave United with a mountain to climb.

David Cushley drove a ball across goal for United with 20 minutes on the clock but despite Gary McCutcheon's flick on to Allan Jenkins, the Scotsman couldn't direct his header past David Miskelly. This was as good as it got for Ballymena in the first half as they conceded an embarrassing third on 27 minutes. Peter McMahon outpaced Tony Kane in midfield before racing through unchallenged to lob Dwayne Nelson and effectively end the game as a contest with less than a third of the match played. Portadown should have made it four on the stroke of the interval but Nelson did well to block Gary Twigg's goalbound header from Peter McMahon's cross.

Darren Boyce replaced Gary McCutcheon at the interval for United and proved to be the only bright spark in an otherwise insipid performance. Boyce finally tested David Miskelly in the Portadown goal with a cross/shot effort which could have been followed up on the rebound had Gary Thompson connected better with the ball. Peter McMahon could almost be accused of taking pity on United soon after when he blasted an effort off the frame of his own goal, in what would have been a most unlikely trigger to stage a three goal comeback!

Darren Boyce was proving a threat and finally registered his side on the scoresheet with 20 minutes left on the clock, expertly controlling Johnny Taylor's through ball before striding forward and wrong footing the stranded Portadown goalkeeper. David Cushley saw a powerful drive skim the edge of the post seconds later whilst Boyce again tested Miskelly with a goalbound effort from inside the box.

These missed chances cost United dear as they failed to threaten for the remaining minutes save for a late penalty appeal which was turned down after an apparent foul by David Miskelly on David Cushley on the byline. In the end Ballymena got what they deserved which was a cup exit amidst a chorus of boos from the Sky Blue faithful at the final whistle.

Match report written by Jordan Miller



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