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Saturday 28th April v. Crusaders (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 3rd Dec, 2016 at 19:22

Date: Saturday, 3rd December, 2016; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 835;
Ballymena United [0] [2]
Portadown [0] [0]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Keith Kennedy; Assistant 1: Stephen Bell; Assistant 2: Ryan Kelsey; 4th Official: Declan Hassan;
[1-0] McCAFFREY, Fra (59 mins), [2-0] McCAFFREY, Fra (63 mins)

BALLYMENA United got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win over Portadown at the Showgrounds this afternoon.
A minute's silence was observed before kick off to remember the victims of the Colombian plane crash, including the 19 members of Brazilian football team Chapecoense.
The minute's silence was impeccably observed
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In a first half that wasn't exactly full of free flowing football, both sides found it extremely hard to create good openings for themselves. Ballymena could've went ahead just 4 minutes in when Cathair Friel's cross found Willie Faulkner, who didn't know too much about it, as the ball came off his head and over the bar. Just two minutes later, Portadown had their first chance when the ball fell to Mark Carson on the edge of the box, but he fired over. It took until the final minutes of the half for either side to go close again. First up for United, Leroy Millar found space to get a shot away, but couldn't keep his shot down. Straight down the other end, Portadown went close as Aaron Haire's curling effort went just wide of the Sky Blue's goal.
Ballymena came out much better for the second half, after their sluggish first half performance. The Sky Blues couldn't quite find the chances to match their dominance of possession at the start of the half, but managed to get their reward on the 59th minute when they took the lead. A wonderful cross from Anthony Kane wasn't dealt with by Port's defender Alan Byrne and the ball fell to Fra McCaffrey who slammed the ball home from close range.
Tony Kane celebrates after his cross was turned in by Fra McCaffrey
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Fra McCaffrey is congratulates after opening the scoring
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United continued to step up the pressure after their opener and almost doubled the advantage when the ball fell nicely for Kane on the edge of the box, but his curling attempt when just over the bar. However on 63 minutes Ballymena did add to their opener with a second goal. McCaffrey finished off a delightful team move to double his tally for the day and also for the season. After a string of passes, Allan Jenkins found Leroy Millar who picked out Faulkner with a cross field ball. From there, Faulkner headed the ball onto McCaffrey who hit the ball on the move and beat Chris McGaughey in the Port's goal.
McCaffrey and Leroy Millar celebrate McCaffrey's 2nd goal of the game
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Portadown had their only real opportunity of the half on 69 minutes. Gavin Taggart was booked for a challenge and Brendan Shannon's effort from the free kick went narrowly wide of Ross Glendinning's goal, who was a spectator for the majority of the half.
On 78 minutes, Stephen Lowry came on to replace goal scorer McCaffrey, but Lowry himself was then taken off 2 minutes later with an injury, being replaced by Matthew Shevlin. With the last play of the game, Cathair Friel passed on an opportunity to find Adam McCracken, who was well placed to shot, and instead went for goal himself, forcing a good save out of McCaughey as the game finished 2-0.
David Jeffrey and the fans were left happy with the performance
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Ballymena United travel to The Oval to face Glentoran in the Danske Bank Premiership next Saturday, kicking off at 3:00pm.
Match Report by Paul Irwin
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning, Tony Kane, Kyle Owens, Jim Ervin, Gavin Taggart ( 68), Allan Jenkins, Willie Faulkner, Cathair Friel, Leroy Millar, Fra McCaffrey ( Neil Lowry 78 Matthew Shevlin 81), Adam McCracken ( 37).

Subs not used: Ben McAuley, Kyle Mackie, Caolan Loughran.