Portadown 3
Ballymena United 4
League (NIFL Premiership)


3 - 4

Ballymena United

League (NIFL Premiership)
Friday, January 1st, 2016
Shamrock Park
Attendance: 669
3:00 PM Kick-off

Marcio Soares (35)
Garry Breen (53)
Sean Mackle (68)
Allan Jenkins (30)
Stephen McBride (58)
David Cushley (69)
Allan Jenkins (89)

Team Managers
Ronnie McFall Glenn Ferguson

Starting Eleven
David Miskelly
Chris Casement
Garry Breen
Keith O'Hara
Ross Redman
Matthew Parker
Sean Mackle
Robert Garrett
Mark McAllister
Darren Murray
Marcio Soares
Alan Blayney .18
Jim Ervin .21
Gareth Rodger
Jonathan Taylor .5
Tony Kane .2
Stephen McBride .3
Allan Jenkins .10
Eoin Kane .15
Gary Thompson .7
Stewart Nixon .32
David Cushley .11

Padraig Judge
Billy Brennan
Mark Carson
Jordan Lyttle
Christian Stewart
Patrick McNally .4
Nathan Hanley .24
Matthew Ferguson .19
Darren Henderson .9
Matthew Shevlin .16

Padraig Judge for Marcio Soares (60) Matthew Shevlin for Stewart Nixon (60)
Matthew Ferguson for Eoin Kane (77)

Sean Mackle (38)
Robert Garrett (45)
Mark McAllister (71)
Ross Redman (75)
Darren Murray (77)
Gareth Rodger (80)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Raymond Hetherington (Referee)

Match Report

UNITED had a fantastic start to the New Year, defeating Portadown in a real battle at Shamrock Park.

On a very wet and sticky pitch United had the first chance, Tony Kane having his headed effort saved by Portadown keeper David Miskelly. With 8 minutes of the game gone a goalmouth scramble led to a chance for Gareth Rodger but he couldn't force the ball into the net. Portadown were almost handed a fantastic chance to score in the 18th minute after Alan Blayney had dropped the ball but Ballymena somehow managed to clear the danger. Moments later Ross Redman sent a corner into the box, it deflected off Marcio Soares towards the goal and was half cleared before Keith O'Hara had his shot blocked.

United went a goal ahead on the half hour mark, David Cushley's 30-yard shot bouncing off the bar and Allan Jenkins heading home the rebound. Minutes later the home side had a chance to equalise as McAllister received the ball about 8 yards out but he shot straight at Blayney. Portadown were determined in their attack and levelled the score through Soares, who put the ball into the net from close range after a cross from Chris Casement.

It was Portadown who made the better start to the second half, piling the pressure onto the visitors. In the 51st minute Darren Murray had a shot saved by Blayney and he got onto the rebound but it was cleared by the United defence. Mark McAllister and Garry Breen both had chances, the former having his shot deflected and the latter shooting just wide. Moments later Ross Redman crossed the ball towards the back post and found Breen who was able to nod it in to give the Ports the lead.

United had a chance to equalise immediately but an unmarked Jenkins headed straight towards the keeper from 6 yards. Moments later Tony Kane had a good chance but he put it wide of the post. On 59 minutes United got the equaliser as Stephen McBride played a lovely one-two and volleyed past the keeper, scoring his first goal for the club.

With 62 minutes gone, Matthew Shevlin came on to replace Stewart Nixon who was solid in his first game starting for the Sky Blues. On 69 minutes Portadown were ahead again after Matthew Parker passed to Sean Mackle who put it into the bottom corner of the net. United were level within 2 minutes though as a fantastic drive from David Cushley flew past the stranded Miskelly.

Johnny Taylor had a chance blocked on the line in the 77th minute, then had his header clawed away by the Ports keeper. The 79th minute seen the replacement of Eoin Kane by Matthew Ferguson. There could have been no better end to the game for the Sky Blue faithful who were behind the Portadown goalmouth as Allan Jenkins sent a beautiful shot into the roof of the net in the 90th minute to give United a 4-3 win.

Match report written by Paul Irwin

Squad Statistics (as at January 1st, 2016)

2015-2016 All Time
Alan Blayney (GK)34 8 - 46 -
Jim Ervin30 271622
Jonathan Taylor27 21112912
Stephen McBride32 111691
Gareth Rodger21 161161
Tony Kane28 21117410
Allan Jenkins34 28918841
Gary Thompson25 23313617
Eoin Kane19 121201
Stewart Nixon18 2 - 3 -
David Cushley26 281322762
Matthew Ferguson (sub)20 13 - 19 -
Matthew Shevlin (sub)17 214255

League Table (as at January 1st, 2016)

Pld W D L +/- Pts
1. Crusaders 22 16 4 2 32 52
2. Linfield 23 14 4 5 24 46
3. Cliftonville 22 13 6 3 13 45
4. Coleraine 23 14 3 6 10 45
5. Glenavon 22 12 5 5 22 41
6. Glentoran 23 9 6 8 0 33
7. BALLYMENA UTD 23 7 4 12 -13 25
8. Dungannon 22 5 4 13 -11 19
9. Ballinamallard Utd 23 4 5 14 -14 17
10. Carrick 19 3 6 10 -14 15
11. Warrenpoint Town 22 1 4 17 -37 7

* - Table split into two divisions of six.