Tuesday 3rd October v. Lisburn Distillery (home) - BetMcLean League Cup rd1 - k.o: 7:45pm

Lisburn Distillery Match Preview
Uploaded Sunday, 12th Feb, 2023 at 08:40

Date: Saturday, 11th February, 2023; Competition: Danske Bank Premiership; Attendance: 1124;
Ballymena United [0] [0]
Portadown [0] [0]
Venue: Ballymena Showgrounds; Kick-Off: 15:00;
Referee: Gareth Stewart; Assistant 1: Adam Jeffrey; Assistant 2: Gavin Hegarty; 4th Official: Andrew Davey;

BALLYMENA United played out a second straight goalless draw at home in the league after an eventless 0-0 draw with bottom side Portadown at the Showgrounds on Saturday afternoon.
After last weekend's 4-1 victory in the Irish Cup over Newington, there was just the sole enforced change for the visit of the Ports, as Michael Place came in to replace an injured Robert McVarnock.
Portadown came into this one with just five points accumulated this season, but their only win came against United, who themselves had gone three league games without a goal, and against that backdrop, a low-quality affair ensued.
Just four minutes in, a tame free kick from Steven McCullough was easily gathered by Ondrej Mastny in the Portadown goal, in what would prove to be the first of just two efforts on goal in the first half for the hosts. Jordan Williamson kept the gloves for his first league appearance of the season, but when called into action after long range attempts from both Cathair Friel and Eoghan McCawl, he made two routine saves.
On twenty minutes Ballymena came the closest that they would all game to scoring when David McDaid's cross from the left found Joshua Kelly inside the box, but he could only direct his first time shot narrowly over the Ports' crossbar. That would be it for chances for either side until the end of the half, as the ball spend too much time in the air and neither team looked anywhere near a level to take hold of the game on their own.
Ten minutes before the break a nice spin gave Ryan Waide space to shoot on the edge of the box, but his shot lacked any pace as it found the arms of Mastny. Five minutes later the same man had a sizeable penalty rejected by referee Gareth Stewart when he seemed to be brought down in the box, but as the away side showed their unhappiness at the way Waide had gone to ground, their vibrant complaints were about as exciting as the first half had got as the teams went into the break goalless.
The second half proved to not be quite as dull as the first, but worryingly for Ballymena it was the side sitting in a huge relegation shaped hole in Portadown that looked the more likely throughout the half. The Sky Blues had Jack Henderson to thank when link up play between the former United strike partnership of Friel and Paul McElroy saw Henderson get there right on time in the box to prevent the latter from surely scoring. Five minutes later it was the turn of Sean Graham to get a vital touch, this time to deny Friel, but in-between those blocks, the Ports came even closer to opening the scoring. A corner was met by Luke Wilson, but his diving header was cleared off the line by Michael Place, but by this stage it was Portadown doing all the running.
Kym Nelson replaced McCullough on the hour mark to try and inject some signs of life into the Ballymena midfield, but as the very limited number of chances continued to fall the visiting side's way, another big chance passed them by when Mark Russell crossed for Alberto Balde at the back post, but he blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
As the Braidmen looked bereft of ideas to get their noses in front, they almost went ahead thanks to a Portadown player. Under little pressure, Chris Rodgers skewed a header back to his 'keeper, with Mastny just about scrambling across his goal to spare the former Ballymena defender's blushes.
After Douglas Wilson, probably United's best player on the day, had fired a shot across goal with no one able to get a touch on it to turn it goalwards, a mess completely of the hosts own making nearly had Portadown ahead. A back pass from around the halfway line from Kelly to his 'keeper was well short of pace, and as everyone in Sky Blue hesitated instead of picking up the loose ball, Balde sneaked in to take the ball, but as he rounded Williamson well outside United's box, the goalkeeper made up for the mistake with a perfectly timed tackle to take the ball away from Portadown's number seven.
Late on Jordan Gibson, Andrew McGrory and Kenneth Kane all entered the pitch, but if anyone was going to score it was likely to be the visitors, though they themselves never looked like scoring either in truth. Unsurprisingly, no goal came, and after no scoreless draws at the Showgrounds for nearly a decade, it's now two in a row in the league, with United just simply not up to standards again against lower placed opposition, as the wait for a league goal now stretches to four games.
Ballymena United travel to Loughshore Leisure Arena to play Carrick Rangers in the Danske Bank Premiership on Tuesday evening, kicking off at 7:45pm.
Match Report by Phillip McPeake
Ballymena United Team:
Jordan Williamson, Ross Redman ( 90), Douglas Wilson ( 90), Scot Whiteside, David McDaid ( Jordan Gibson 78), Joshua Kelly, Ryan Waide ( Kenneth Kane 88), Steven McCullough ( Kym Nelson 59), Jack Henderson, Sean Graham ( 62), Michael Place ( Andrew McGrory 78).

Subs not used: Sean O'Neill, George Tipton, Craig Farquhar.

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