Sean Mackle (75)

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Sean Mackle brings the ball forward as Mark Surgenor tracks (Picture: Tony Hendron/PressEye.com)

REPORT: PORTADOWN 1-0 BALLYMENA UNITED

PORTADOWN moved into third spot in the table with a single goal defeat of Ballymena United at Shamrock Park.

The Ports enjoyed the best of what chances were created on the heavy pitch.

After just five minutes Emmett Friars got his head to a Chris Casement corner only for the ball to go narrowly over with another similar effort late in the half suffering an identical fate.

Darren Murray also tried to slide the ball under the body of United 'keeper Aaron Shanahan but the former Dundalk custodian managed to turn it away for a corner with his left hand.

The Sky Blues started the second half perhaps the brighter with early efforts from Aaron Stewart and David Cushley testing the home defence.

At the other end, Peter McMahon might have opened the scoring when he scooped the ball over the bar after Shanahan came for - but missed - a cross.

But the deadlock was eventually broken with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when a blocked Murray shot fell for Sean Mackle on the edge of the area who responded with a left-foot drive into the top corner in off the underside the crossbar.

United did have the ball in the net in the closing moments but Darren Boyce's 'goal' was ruled out offside.

Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, O'Hara, Ramsey, Breen, McMahon, Mackle, Murray, Twigg, McCafferty, Friars subs Judge (not used), McConnell (not used), Brennan (not used), Barton (not used), McStay (not used)

Ballymena United: Shanahan, Ervin, McCullagh, Munster, Stewart, Thompson, Surgenor, Jenkins, Cushley, Boyce, Teggart subs Kane (not used), Davidson (not used), Ruddy (not used), Lowry (not used), McLellan (replaced Teggart 81)

Referee: Ross Dunlop

Attendance: 484

Tags:  Ballymena United  Portadown