Sean Mackle penalty seals Portadown win over Ballinamallard United

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton

Sean Mackle finished with an assist and goal as Portadown defeated Ballinamallard United by 2-1 on an afternoon in which both Bluefin Sport Championship clubs had focus on future tests.

Having secured a pre-play-off test at Bluefin Sport Championship runners-up Carrick Rangers for April 30, the Ports opted for an experimental three-man defence and introduced three teenagers off the substitutes' bench.

United, of course, have sights set on May's Irish Cup showpiece against Crusaders - with play, as a result, lacking the usual energy across the pitch.

However, Portadown broke the deadlock when Mackle attacked along the right and whipped over a low cross which dropped just behind Luke Wilson but was slotted home with an assured finish by Aaron Duke.

United held the upper hand over the second half and levelled thanks to Ryan Campbell's close-range finish at the far post.

The game's final twist arrived in the final minutes when a foul on Mackle led to the experienced Ports midfielder stepping up and firing home from the spot, with the power of the penalty too much for John Connolly.