Michael Kerr (50)
Johnny Flynn (59)
Tony Kane (77p)

3

Joe McKinney and Niall Henderson in action (Picture: Brian Little/PressEye.com)

SKY BLUES BOUNCE BACK IN STYLE

Ballymena United bounced back from last week's cup defeat to sweep to a three-goal victory over bottom of the table Portadown at The Showgrounds.

Kevin Braniff created the first chance of note after five minutes when he fired low and hard past an upright.

Johnny McMurray then had a chance midway through the first half but couldn't keep the ball down despite being well positioned while, moments later, a Willie Faulkner effort met a similar fate.

Perhaps the best chance came on 37 minutes when Portadown's Robert Garrett met the ball on the bounce inside the area before testing Tim Allen but the United 'keeper did well to make the save.

The deadlock was broken early in the second half when, on 50 minutes, Michael Kerr grabbed his first goal for United with a tap-in after McMurray had squared the ball from the right.

Then, nine minutes after that, Johnny Flynn made it 2-0 when he rose highest to nod home a Tony Kane corner.

It got worse for the Ports just after the hour when Ken Oman was shown a straight red card following an off-the-ball incident.

And United extended their lead with around a quarter-of-an-hour remaining after Joe McKinney had been brought inside the area by 'keeper Jack Duffin with Kane stepping up to convert from the spot.

Ballymena United: Allen, T. Kane, Flynn, Thompson, Faulkner, Ervin, Millar, Braniff, McKinney, McMurray, Kerr subs Glendinning (not used), Jenkins (replaced Kane 77), McCloskey (replaced Faulkner 85), Friel (replaced McMurray 88), Loughran (not used)

Portadown: Duffin, Shannon, Oman, Lyttle, McGerrigan, Henderson, Garrett, Mackle, Hazley, S. Hughes, McAllister subs L. Hughes (not used), Holmes (not used), Foley (replaced Hughes 66), Soares (replaced McAllister 59), Megaw (replaced Garrett 88)

Referee: Steven Gregg

Attendance: 1045