Ballymena United 2
Portadown 0
League (Irish Premier League)

Ballymena United
2 - 0

League (Irish Premier League)
Saturday, February 3rd, 2007
Ballymena Showgrounds
3:00 PM Kick-off

Lee Patrick (72)
Paul Brown (87)

Team Managers
Tommy Wright
Ronnie McFall

Starting Eleven
Paul Murphy
Aaron Callaghan
Craig McClean
Gareth McConaghie
Albert Watson
Stuart King
Gavin Melaugh
Lee Patrick
Mark Picking
Garth Scates
Kevin Kelbie
David Miskelly
Philip Craig
Keith O'Hara
John Convery
Henry McStay
Wesley Boyle
Michael Collins
Gary McCutcheon
Peter Kennedy
Kevin Braniff
Marc McCann

Stephen Lowry
Aidan Watson
Paul Brown
Allan Smart
Richard Clarke
Gareth McKeown

Paul Brown for Mark Picking (67)
Stephen Lowry for Stuart King (79)
Aidan Watson for Kevin Kelbie (88)
Allan Smart for Wesley Boyle (68)
Richard Clarke for Michael Collins (73)
Gareth McKeown for Philip Craig (79)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Mark Courtney (Dungannon) (Referee)

Match Report

BALLYMENA United's topsy-turvy season continued as they brought title-challenging Portadown's long unbeaten run to a crashing halt at the Showgrounds this afternoon.

Second half goals from Lee Patrick and Paul Brown gave the Sky Blues a 2-0 success - the Ports' first defeat in 17 league matches.

"It was a super win and one which was well-deserved as I don't think Paul Murphy had a real save to make until right at the end.

"We were slightly wary about our lack of height, especially defending at set-pieces, but our back four was magnificent."

Wright handed a full debut to 18-year-old Gareth McConaghie at right-back - the Ballymoney youngster's previous three senior substitute appearances have been in midfield - and he responded with an assured display.

United survived an early scare when Marc McCann took possession after Gavin Melaugh lost his balance but his low cross from the left was just inches too far for the in-sliding Gary McCutcheon to make contact in the sixth minute.

As the opening period struggled for any kind of cohesion, it wasn't until the 37th minute that Ballymena had the first real effort of note.

Stuart King's clever step-over took him past the challenge of Michael Collins in midfield and the winger advanced a couple more steps before firing a right-footed shot which keeper David Miskelly diverted onto the base of the post, with Henry McStay completing the clearance.

The Ports continued to possess a clear menace in the second half, but again, without any real end product. From one of these instances, John Convery cleverly chested a Peter Kennedy free-kick into the path of Kevin Braniff but the former Millwall striker's half-volleyed effort was wide of the mark.

As efforts continued to be off target at both ends, Lee Patrick threaded a clever through ball into the path of Mark Picking but as the winger got his shot away, McStay produced a timely intervention at the expense of a fruitless corner.

The opening goal did arrive, however on 72 minutes. Melaugh set off on a mazy run in the middle of the pitch, heading towards the left flank. He then checked and drilled a crossfield left-footed 40-yard pass into Kevin Kelbie's feet in the right hand channel.

The striker came inside onto his left foot and his measured cross was met by the head of Patrick to give Miskelly no chance.

Ballymena put the outcome beyond any doubt with three minutes left when Miskelly misjudged the flight of Melaugh's corner, leaving Paul Brown unmarked to head powerfully home.

Match report written by Official Ballymena United website

Squad Statistics (as at February 3rd, 2007)

2006-2007 All Time
Paul Murphy (GK)21 28 - 28 -
Aaron Callaghan20 27 - 27 -
Craig McClean21 14 - 47 -
Gareth McConaghie18 4 - 4 -
Albert Watson21 2711625
Stuart King25 171524
Gavin Melaugh25 4 - 4 -
Lee Patrick28 225456
Mark Picking31 276276
Garth Scates27 2731189
Kevin Kelbie21 2695725
Aidan Watson (sub)20 19 - 503
Stephen Lowry (sub)20 2 - 2 -
Paul Brown (sub)27 122224

League Table (as at February 3rd, 2007)

Pld W D L Pts
1. Linfield 20 13 6 1 45
2. Cliftonville 20 12 6 2 42
3. Portadown 20 12 5 3 41
4. Glentoran 20 12 3 5 39
5. Coleraine 20 11 3 6 36
6. Crusaders 20 11 3 6 36
7. Dungannon 20 10 3 7 33
8. Distillery 20 9 5 6 32
9. BALLYMENA UTD 20 7 5 8 26
10. Armagh City 20 7 1 12 22
11. Newry 21 5 6 10 21
12. Limavady Utd 20 5 4 11 19
13. Glenavon 20 4 6 10 18
14. Donegal Celtic 20 3 8 9 17
15. Larne 20 4 2 14 14
16. Loughgall 21 0 6 15 6