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Saturday 26th January v. Ards (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Uploaded Saturday, 5th Aug, 2017 at 16:53

Date: Saturday, 5th August, 2017; Competition: Friendly; Attendance: N/A;
Portadown [0] [1]
Ballymena United [0] [2]
Venue: Shamrock Park; Kick-Off: 14:00;
[0-1] McKINNEY, Joe (47 mins), [1-1] HENDERSON, Darren (57 mins), [1-2] BRANIFF, Kevin (84 mins)

BALLYMENA United grabbed a comfortable win against Portadown in their last pre-season friendly.
The Sky Blues, playing in black, got off to a strong start against the reds, playing in white, and dominated possession for the first 20 minutes. A few half chances were missed and Tony Kane struck a terrific free kick which was well saved by the Ports' keeper.
On the half hour mark an incident between Kevin Amuneke and Connor McCloskey let to the former landing a couple of blows, the latter retaliating, and both players being shown the red card. 5 minutes later and United continued to control the game, Tony Kane first a shot off but it hit the post.
The second-half was only 2 minutes old when the visitors grabbed the first goal, Joe McKinney firing high into the net from inside the box.
Moments after Tony Kane fired another free kick just wide of the mark, leaving the keeper stranded. It was time for some changes then, Conor Brennan replacing Ross Glendinning, Johnny McMurray coming on for Matthew Shevlin and Emmet Friars taking Johnny Flynn's spot.
Just 2 minutes later the referee waved away a blatant foul on Kyle Owens and Portadown forward Darren Henderson in to level the scores.
Straight from the kick off Kevin Braniff went through on goal and should've scored but the ball was deflected out and a corner was given, although it came to nothing. Trialist was then brought on to replace Joe McKinney, with Fra McCaffrey and Steven McCullough coming on for Leroy Millar and Tony Kane 10 minutes later.
With just under a quarter of an hour left in the game, Braniff had a header right in front of goal and managed to head over, after some good supply work from McCaffrey. McCaffrey was the provider again a minute later resulting in a good chance for Jim Ervin but, as had been the case with quite a few others on the afternoon, he couldn't find the finishing touch.
On 80 minutes Johnny McMurray was upended when through on goal and the referee waved play on. 5 minutes later and the Sky Blues were ahead again, Braniff getting a well deserved goal against his former club.
Right at the death McMurray went on a run after a superb turn and, trying to finish the game with a flourish, shot into the side netting. The final whistle was blown and United had won their last pre-season friendly of the summer.
Next week sees the start of the Danske Bank Premiership campaign, starting off on Friday night when United host Crusaders, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Paul Irwin
Ballymena United Team:
Ross Glendinning ( Conor Brennan 55), Jim Ervin, Kyle Owens, Johnny Flynn ( Emmet Friars 55), Leroy Millar ( Fra McCaffrey 71), Conor McCloskey ( 30), Tony Kane ( Steven McCullough 71), Michael Gault, Joe McKinney ( Trialist 61), Matthew Shevlin ( Johnny McMurray 55), Kevin Braniff

Subs not used: Kofi Balmer, Eoin Kane, Caolan Loughran.