Portadown 1
Ballymena United 2
League (NIFL Premiership)


1 - 2

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Saturday, February 27th, 2021
Shamrock Park
3:00 PM Kick-off

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

Team Managers
Matthew Tipton David Jeffrey

Starting Eleven
52. Jacob Carney
4. Adam McMullan
5. Paul Finnegan
9. Adam Salley
10. Lee Bonis
16. Luke Wilson
19. Ben Guy
22. Nathan Kerr
23. Sam Warde
25. Eamon Scannell
44. Ben Tilney
Ross Glendinning .1
Trai Hume .20
Ross Redman .3
Ben Wylie .28
Sean Graham .27
Andrew McGrory .17
Joshua Kelly .26
Jude Winchester .7
Ryan Waide .16
Shay McCartan .15
Paul McElroy .14

33. Gareth Buchanan
6. Barney McKeown
7. Christopher Lavery
11. Stephen Murray
20. Stephen Teggart
21. Oisin Conaty
24. Kevin Healy
Dylan Graham .36
Jim Ervin .21
Craig Farquhar .35
Tony Kane .2
James Knowles .10
Spencer Beattie .29
Joe McCready .32

Barney McKeown for Luke Wilson (75)
Stephen Teggart for Sam Warde (82)
Stephen Murray for Adam Salley (84)
Joe 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.

Match Officials

Steven Gregg (Referee)
Gareth Eakin & Gavin Hegarty (Assistants)
Louise Thompson (Fourth Official)

Match Report

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, Shay 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 Ross 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

Squad Statistics (as at February 27th, 2021)

2020-2021 All Time
Ross Glendinning (GK)27 7 - 149 -
Ross Redman31 191191
Trai Hume18 181181
Ben Wylie18 5 - 5 -
Sean Graham20 3 - 3 -
Jude Winchester27 1427710
Andrew McGrory29 4 - 7820
Joshua Kelly21 161483
Shay McCartan26 186186
Ryan Waide21 16 - 16 -
Paul McElroy26 197197
Tony Kane (sub)33 8 - 35048
James Knowles (sub)27 4 - 496
Joe McCready (sub)30 121172

League Table (as at February 27th, 2021)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 20 13 3 4 42
2. Coleraine 20 11 4 5 37
3. Larne 20 10 6 4 36
4. Cliftonville 22 10 5 7 35
5. Crusaders 20 10 3 7 33
6. Glentoran 18 8 6 4 30
7. Glenavon 18 7 6 5 27
8. BALLYMENA UTD 19 8 2 9 26
9. Warrenpoint Town 18 4 5 9 17
10. Portadown 18 2 6 10 12
11. Carrick 18 3 3 12 12
12. Dungannon 19 3 3 13 12