Portadown 1 - 2 Ballymena United

League - NIFL Premiership
Saturday, February 27th, 2021, 3:00 PM at Shamrock Park
Referee: Steven Gregg
Portadown Ballymena United

Sam Warde (28) Shay McCartan (41)
Ross Redman (83)

Team Managers
Matthew Tipton David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
Jacob Carney
Adam McMullan
Paul Finnegan
Adam Salley
Lee Bonis
Luke Wilson
Ben Guy
Nathan Kerr
Sam Warde
Eamon Scannell
Ben Tilney
Ross Glendinning
Joshua Kelly
Ross Redman
Trai Hume
Andrew McGrory
Ben Wylie
Jude Winchester
Sean Graham
Paul McElroy
Ryan Waide
Shay McCartan

Gareth Buchanan
Barney McKeown
Christopher Lavery
Stephen Murray
Stephen Teggart
Oisin Conaty
Kevin Healy
Dylan Graham
Craig Farquhar
Jim Ervin
Tony Kane
James Knowles
Spencer Beattie
Joseph McCready

Barney McKeown for Luke Wilson (75)
Stephen Teggart for Sam Warde (82)
Stephen Murray for Adam Salley (84)
Joseph McCready for Ryan Waide (82)
James Knowles for Ben Wylie (89)
Tony Kane for Shay McCartan (90)

Sam Warde (59)
Luke Wilson (66)
Trai Hume (76)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Ross Glendinning (GK) 149 apps -
Joshua Kelly 49 apps3 goals
Ross Redman 19 apps1 goal
Trai Hume 18 apps1 goal
Jude Winchester 77 apps10 goals
Ben Wylie 5 apps -
Andrew McGrory 78 apps20 goals
Sean Graham 3 apps -
Shay McCartan 18 apps6 goals
Paul McElroy 19 apps7 goals
Ryan Waide 16 apps -
Tony Kane (sub) 350 apps48 goals
James Knowles (sub) 49 apps6 goals
Joseph McCready (sub) 16 apps2 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Ben Wylie (18 years 248 days)
Oldest Player:Ross Redman (31 years 104 days)
Average Player Age:24 years 220 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Dylan Graham (16 years 123 days)
Oldest Player:Jim Ervin (35 years 276 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 35 days
Domestic Players:18 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

Ballymena United picked up their first win in a month after coming from behind to beat Portadown 2-1 at Shamrock Park this afternoon.

United made four changes to the side that narrowly lost out to Cliftonville in midweek, with a defensive personnel crisis leading to Ross Redman and Trai Hume partnering at centre half. Jude Winchester captained the side for the first time.

Looking to end a run of five straight defeats, Ballymena came out quick at Shamrock Park and had a glut of chances in the opening 20 minutes. Inside a couple of minutes captain Winchester forced Jacob Carney into a good save to tip the ball over the crossbar, before Ryan Waide missed a gilt-edged chance.

Great running from Josh Kelly got him to the goal line and he cut the ball back for Waide who was in acres of space six yards out, but he somehow hit the ball wide. Ballymena continued to probe with a Shay McCartan shot being turned goal wards by Paul McElroy, but he couldn't keep it under the bar and similarly a Winchester shot came off Ben Wylie, but ended up inches wide.

Portadown offered the odd piece of danger at the other end, but nothing to overly work the visitor's makeshift back four, while at the other end Waide headed wide and Carney had to scramble the ball off the line after a cross deflected off Eamon Scannell.

Having dominated the game from kick off, Ballymena will have struggled to believe what they were seeing when the Ports opened the scoring on 28 minutes. Some good play from the Mid-Ulster side ended with Ben Tilney's cross finding Lee Bonis, and he teed up Sam Warde who put a well hit and well placed side footed effort into the top corner.

The teams traded chances towards the end of the half as Winchester had a low effort gathered by Carney and Bonis narrowly missed heading home from close range.

Having failed to score when dominating, as luck would have it Ballymena's equaliser came as Portadown were beginning to see more of the ball. McCartan picked the ball up around 40 yards from goal and typically drove at the the home side's defence. After evading Scannell, McCartan pulled the trigger just inside the box and his daisy cutting shot across goal neatly nestled into the bottom corner.

The goal gave United a new lease of life and they could easily have been ahead before half-time. A minute after equalising, Sean Graham burst down the left and delivered a ball to the back post for Andy McGrory, whose free header was straight at Carney, but he still had to pull off a good stop.

Shortly after the McGrory chance, McCartan again ran at the Ports defence, in an almost carbon copy effort to his goal, but this time Carney saved, as an entertaining half with an abundance of chances ended level.

It was the home side who started better in the second half, with Ross Glendinning denying Bonis and Tilney, before Adam Salley struck a good chance wide. Ballymena themselves forced another two saves out of Carney, when first McCartan, and then Winchester, had efforts stopped. On 67 minutes Portadown had a huge chance to retake the lead through Ben Guy. Redman lost the ball in his own half and it allowed Guy to run in one on one, but he was denied by a top drawer stop from Glendinning's leg.

From the resulting corner Warde had an effort go through a sea of bodies in the box, but Glendinning held it well.
Come the final 20 minutes the Ports had been having narrowly the better of the play for most of the half, but still couldn't convert, including a big chance for Bonis, but he couldn't send his header home. After Winchester had yet another attempt stopped by Carney, the 'keeper on loan from Manchester United delivered what felt like his 100th save of the day to keep out Waide with a near post strike.

On 83 minutes, with an end to end game still in session, Ballymena completed the turnaround as former Ports man Redman scored in his hometown. McGrory's cross from the left landed on top of a crowd of players, including 'keeper Carney, but he was unable to get anything on it and the ball dropped for Redman who slammed it home on the half volley.

Late on Portadown probed for a leveller, the closest they came coming from a Stephen Murray volley which flew over. In added time Tony Kane came on to make his 350th Sky Blue appearance, and he helped United see out the win to finally pick up a point in February, and grab a win after five straight defeats.

Match report written by Philip McPeake

Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Linfield 20 13 3 4 46 22 24 42
2. Coleraine 20 11 4 5 30 20 10 37
3. Larne 20 10 6 4 34 19 15 36
4. Cliftonville 22 10 5 7 33 25 8 35
5. Crusaders 20 10 3 7 37 25 12 33
6. Glentoran 18 8 6 4 28 15 13 30
7. Glenavon 18 7 6 5 29 29 0 27
8. Ballymena United 19 8 2 9 26 22 4 26
9. Warrenpoint Town 18 4 5 9 16 31 -15 17
10. Portadown 18 2 6 10 19 40 -21 12
11. Carrick Rangers 18 3 3 12 17 39 -22 12
12. Dungannon Swifts 19 3 3 13 11 39 -28 12
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