FRIEL GOAL ENOUGH FOR PORTS
Portadown gave their survival hopes a huge boost with a narrow defeat of Ballymena United at Shamrock Park.
The Ports got off to a great start when, after ten minutes, Cathair Friel glanced home a header at the near post after meeting Alberto Balde's corner.
There were few opportunities created during the remainder of the first half, although the Ports might have doubled their advantage when Alan O'Sullivan was unable to force the ball home after Mark Russell had fired across the six yard box.
Kenneth Kane came close to levelling for United during the opening moments of the second half only to drag his effort just wide of the post.
Robert McVarnock then tested Jethren Barr before Ross Redman came even closer when he struck the base of the post with a free-kick.
However Portadown could have extended their lead soon after when Friel found Mark Randall with a cross but he could only head over.
Then, with around six minutes remaining, Niall Currie's side were presented with a spot-kick to seal the victory but Balde saw his penalty saved by United's 16-year-old debutant keeper Marcus Thompson.
Portadown: Barr, Wilson, Balde, Russell, McKeown, McNally, Archer, Rodgers, McCawl, Friel, O’Sullivan subs Mastný, Upton, Stedman, Chapman, Teggart, Igiehon, Walker
Ballymena United: Thompson, Nelson, Redman, Whiteside, Kelly, Waide, Kane, Gibson, McVarnock, Graham, Farquhar subs Tweed, McGrory, Tipton, Place, Taylor, Tennant, Clarke