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Saturday 11th February v. Portadown (home) - Danske Bank Premiership - k.o: 3:00pm

Newington MATCH REPORT

Uploaded Saturday, 10th Dec, 2022 at 18:14

Date: Saturday, 10th December, 2022; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 654;
Portadown [1] [1]
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Venue: Shamrock Park; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Lee Tavinder; Assistant 1: Andrew Nethery; Assistant 2: John Doherty; 4th Official: Jamie Robinson;
Goals:
[1-0] ARCHER, Joshua (37 mins)

BALLYMENA United failed to build on last weekends fine performance and result as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to bottom club Portadown at Shamrock Park on Saturday afternoon.
After last Saturday's outstanding performance and result at home to Cliftonville, unsurprisingly David Jeffrey MBE opted for an unchanged eleven for the trip to Portadown, who were still in search of their first three points of the season after last week's victory over Newry was overturned due to a player ineligibility row.
After the Shamrock Park pitch had passed a midday inspection following last night's snow and frost, the surface held up well considering and on it Portadown should've been ahead inside five minutes, when Paddy McNally turned over whilst facing an open goal from close range.
Soon after, Conor Keeley had United's first chance, only to head over from a free kick, but it was the first of a few visiting chances in amongst a scrappy game. A scooped shot from Joshua Kelly called Jethren Barr into action to parry round his post, before minutes later Barr denied the skipper again.
The star attraction last week in David McDaid brought a bit more of his flare to proceedings in Mid Ulster when a delightful nutmeg gave him the space to pick out Jordan Gibson in the middle of the box, but he spurned a good chance as he fired straight at Barr.
If the Braidmen had just edged the opening half hour, the final fifteen minutes in the half belonged to the Ports in a poor spell from United. It started with Sean O'Neill pulling off a magnificent stop to prevent Michael Place from heading into his own net, before a slack back pass from Kym Nelson could only find Jordan Jenkins, but O'Neill saved well again.
Ballymena had been riding their luck, and it ran out on thirty-seven minutes as the bottom side broke the deadlock. It was all too easy for Jenkins down the right as he eased past Place, before showing tidy footwork in the box, and he ended the move by sliding the ball across goal for Joshua Archer to slot home.
Four minutes before the break Ballymena had Steven McCullough to thank for going into the interval just a goal behind, when he was on hand to deny Luke Wilson with a goal line clearance, with the away side happy to hear the half time whistle.
As the mist rolled in for the second half, United would've hoped to up the performance levels, but in the early stages it was the hosts looking the more dangerous again. Jenkins was causing all sorts of problems and looked to be in for 2-0 after a ball over the top, but Scot Whiteside did just enough to put the forward off, before Jenkins curled a shot inches wide three minutes later.
After a ropey ten minutes, Ballymena finally were able to gain some sort of control of the game as Portadown retreated slightly, and on the hour mark a massive chance came and went for McDaid as he got in one on one, only to fire straight at Barr in front of the away support.
Two minutes later the Sky Blues were wasteful again as a cross dropped nicely in the box for Gibson, but with the aid of a deflection he blazed over. As time ticked on things got more and more scrappy, and despite having most of the ball, United could get nothing going as a plethora of crosses and long balls just wouldn't stick, with a Portadown head getting on the majority of them.
With five minutes to go Barr had to react well to tip a header over the crossbar, as Barney McKeown copied Place in almost putting through his own net, and from the resulting corner Keeley's glancing near post header went agonisingly wide of the far post.
That was to be Ballymena's last chance as Portadown saw the game out well to finally recorded their first win of the league season, but for United it was a bitterly disappointing performance and result, particularly off the back of last weekend.
Ballymena United host league leaders Larne in a Danske Bank Premiership game on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Sean O'Neill, Kym Nelson, Ross Redman ( Ryan Waide 70), Douglas Wilson, Scot Whiteside, David McDaid, Joshua Kelly, Steven McCullough, Jordan Gibson ( Kenneth Kane 84), Conor Keeley, Michael Place.

Subs not used: Jordan Williamson, Caolan Loughran, Paul McElroy, Jack Henderson, Andrew McGrory.