James McKenna blasts home vital goal for Ballinamallard

Ballinamallard United secured three vital points in their effort to stave off relegation with this 1-0 victory over Portadown.

Midfielder James McKenna popped up to blast home another vital goal after 67 minutes after Ivan Sproule’s effort had come back off the base of the post.

Both sides created good chances throughout the 90 minutes and Ballinamallard had to withstand constant pressure from the visitors in the closing minutes to secure the important victory.

Ferney manager Whitey Anderson said it was a great response by the players.

“All credit to them. Tonight they showed a lot of character against a good side. After Friday night’s performance it was a fantastic way to bounce back.

“It was a positive performance and we looked very good going forward and we had to defend well against a very good Portadown side. I think we deserved to win over the 90 minutes.”

Portadown’s assistant manager Kieran Harding said, “We felt we had enough chances to win two games tonight, clear cut chances that we didn’t take, a penalty kick which wasn’t given, we hit the bar and put their goalkeeper under pressure.”

“I though we were in control of the game but when you don’t take you chances it comes back to haunt you. They caught us on the break and ended up winning 1-0.”

It was the end of the first half before things really livened up with Soares and Lowry both squandering glorious opportunities.

It was Soares again in the second half who carved out a wonderful chance when he left the home backline for dead. He then rounded keeper Alvin Rouse, but as he was about to pull the trigger both Friars and Dykes were there to smother the chance.

It was Soares again who turned Dykes on the right side, but keeper Rouse was on hand to save at the near post. Indeed Rouse was called on several times to make last ditch saves as Portadown looked to get on the scoresheet.

The all important goal came in the 67th minute. McCabe’s drilled ball found Sproule at the back post.

The striker got the outside of his boot to the ball to guide it past keeper Miskelly, but it somehow came back off the far post. But the alert McKenna was on hand to smash the ball home past diving Portadown players.

The Ferney Park side did create one or two good chances on the break in the closing minutes with Sproule and Campbell going close, but they had to weather a fierce red tide in the closing minutes to stand firm and earn a much needed three points.

Ballinamallard United: Rouse, Falconer, McCabe, McKenna, Sproule, Crilly (McMenamin 14 ), Lecky, Mayse (McCartney 85), Campbell, Friars, Dykes
Subs: McCusker, Currie, McCartney, Lafferty, McMenamin

Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, Ramsey, Breen Mackle (Withers 85), McAllister, Mouncey, Gault, Lowry, Soares

Subs: Marron, Brown, Judge, Parker, Withers

Referee: Ross Dunlop