After the high of Tuesday evening’s excellent 5-0 victory over Ballyclare Comrades it was back down to earth for the Ports on Saturday after this disappointing 1-0 defeat to Ballinamallard United in the Bluefin Sport Championship at Shamrock Park.
Ballinamallard were dealt a blow within the opening 5 minutes as they lost their captain Richard Clarke to injury however this was not to deter them as they created the first opportunity of the match when Sean McEvoy fired over the bar from just inside the box after Ports defenders had blocked two previous attempts in the box before the ball found its way to McEvoy. Ballinamallard had another chance soon after when striker Ryan Campbell took advantage of a quick free kick into the Ports box to turn his marker and get a shot away however his strike was straight at Ports keeper Edwards who gathered easily.
The game was then suspended for 8 minutes following a spell of thunder but once it restarted the trend of the opening fourteen minutes continued as Ballinamallard continued to dominate and create chances, firstly through Nathan Cashel whose shot off a low cross into the box was saved before Ports keeper Edwards produced a great diving save to beat away a long range effort from Mallards defender McEvoy.
Even though Ballinmallard United had the bulk of the chances in the opening spell of the first half it was Portadown who went closest to taking the lead, firstly Adam Salley seen his long range effort deflected just wide of the Ballinamallard left hand post and from the resulting corner a goal mouth scramble ensued after Mallards keeper Connolly spilled the ball however Marty Bradley and then Adam Salley both seen their shots in the box blocked before Aaron Duke headed just over the bar after the Mallards clearance found Ports captain Luke Wilson who put a great cross back into the box.
Ballinamallard were to regain control again after this flurry of chances for the Ports and were to test keeper Edwards again who produced another great save to turn away a fierce strike from distance from ‘Mallards striker Campbell. Mallards striker Campbell was not to be outdone however and finally got the better of Ports keeper Edwards to find the net with a brilliant looping header which just evaded the outstretched arms of the diving Ports stopper on 42 minutes to give Ballinamallard a well deserved lead.
Portadown came out in the second half to try and salvage something from the game and thought they’d equalised just after the hour mark however Chris Lavery’s header was ruled out as the referee deemed he had pushed the defender, Ports went close again minutes after however Ports defender Finnegan seen his header from a free kick bounce off the top of the bar and go over.
As the half went on Portadown kept pressing for an equaliser with a Chris Lavery cross from the left just evading the head of a free Brendan Glackin at the back post and an Adam Salley goalbound shot blocked in the box by a Mallards defender.
It was the Mallards though who went closest to scoring as Ryan Campbell capitalised on a long punt by his keeper to out muscle Greg Hall in the box before seeing his shot in the box strike the base of the far post before the follow up rebound shot was blocked by Ports defender McNally.
Ports threw all they had in the closing minutes with PSS Man of the Match Bobby Edwards being pushed up for corners and Marty Bradley hitting the side netting however it was not to be for the Ports as they fell to a first league defeat of this 2019/20 campaign.
Portadown team v Ballinamallard United: Edwards, Hall, Crane, Finnegan, Bradley, Lavery (Ferris 84′), Salley, Duke (Glackin 61′), Wilson (McKenna 61′), McNally, Teggart
Substitutes: McCallum, Tipton (Unused)