5 - 5
League (NIFL Premiership)
Gary Twigg (3)
Peter McMahon (12)
Gary Twigg (28)
Gary Twigg (68)
Darren Murray (82)
Matthew Tipton (4)
Darren Henderson (42)
Jonathan Taylor (79)
Matthew Tipton (84)
Allan Jenkins (87)
Tony Kane .2
Allan Jenkins .10
Jim Ervin .21
David Cushley .11
|Jordan Lyttle for Christopher Casement (46)||
Jim Ervin for Brian McCaul (64)
David Cushley for Gary McCutcheon (82)
Christopher Ramsey (72)
Michael Gault (83)
Gary Thompson (45)
Tony Kane (66)
Ian McNabb (Referee)
BALLYMENA United salvaged a point at Portadown on Saturday with a dramatic late comeback to draw 5-5 in a goal laden game at Shamrock Park.
Many United supporters were still filtering into the ground when the hosts took a first minute lead. Peter McMahon's cross from the right was chested down in the box by Darren Murray and finished off by Peter Twigg to leave the Sky Blues shell shocked. It didn't take Ballymena long to recover however, as just a minute later they were level thanks to a superb curling effort from Matthew Tipton.
Tipton should have put United in front on eight minutes but his effort was saved by Ports goalkeeper David Miskelly when well placed to score. Portadown made United pay for their benevolence in front of goal just four minutes later when Peter McMahon's low shot evaded everyone in the box and found its way into the bottom corner. Further efforts by McMahon and Gary Twigg were denied as Portadown exerted a spell of pressure on the United backline.
Another glorious chance fell to Matthew Tipton on 26 minutes but United's top goalscorer shot over after being played in by Gary Thompson. Again Portadown punished Ballymena almost instantly, as Darren Murray exploited a huge gap in the defence to allow Gary Twigg to run through on goal and finish beyond goalkeeper Stuart Addis. United managed to pull a goal back three minutes before half time when Darren Boyce was presented with a tap in following Allan Jenkins' parried effort, following good work on the left from Gary McCutcheon and Matthew Tipton.
Portadown set about the early stages of the second half determined to restore their two goal advantage, both Gary Breen and Robert Garrett went close as the United defence continued to falter. The two goal advantage was restored on 68 minutes as the home side made it 4-2 thanks to Gary Twigg completing his hat trick after finding himself one on one with Stuart Addis. United refused to lie down and got back in the game on 79 minutes when Tony Kane's pinpoint free kick was headed home by Johnny Taylor.
At this point both sides appeared to disregard the need for the art of defending as Darren Murray was allowed to run straight through and past the United goalkeeper to make the score 5-3 and once more give Portadown a two goal lead. However, at this point the home side could be accused of resting on their laurels as they allowed United back into the game. Another fine free kick delivery from Tony Kane caused havoc in the penalty area, with Matthew Tipton eventually scrambling the ball home to reduce the deficit to one goal and give the Sky Blues a fighting chance.
On 87 minutes the comeback was complete with Tony Kane again the architect, his cross from the right fell to Allan Jenkins who finished smartly beyond David Miskelly to secure a dramatic late leveller for United. This was not to be the end of the drama however, Stuart Addis pulled off two fine saves from first Michael Gault and secondly Sean Mackle in injury time to prevent Portadown from scoring an incredible sixth.
In the end a point was probably a fair result on an afternoon where neither defence covered themselves in glory and both teams wasted numerous chances, a statement that suggests a 5-5 final scoreline could actually have been even more!
Match report written by Jordan Miller
|Stuart Addis (GK)||35||9||-||43||-|
|Jim Ervin (sub)||29||2||-||19||1|
|David Cushley (sub)||25||23||6||185||44|