New Year’s Day defeat highlights same old problems for the Ports

Mark McAllister. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Mark McAllister. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

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It was a case of out with the old...but in with the old at Shamrock Park on New Year’s Day as the problems of the past proved part of the present.

Home fans who braved the festive elements failed to take much warmth from the prestige of watching another high-scoring clash between Portadown and Ballymena United.

The key numbers of note at the final whistle of greater interest to the Ports centred on four goals conceded, 11 defeats from 22 Danske Bank Premiership games and a third successive loss.

David Miskelly’s 400th appearance in Portadown colours failed to produce a clean sheet as Ballymena broke the deadlock when Allan Jenkins’ close-range header after a David Cushley drive bounced off the underside of the crossbar.

Portadown turned the tables thanks to teenage striker Marcio Soares and a close-range finish off Chris Casement’s cross that reward the prospect for an encouraging display on his first senior start of the season at league level.

Garry Breen popped up at the back post to move Portadown into the lead with a second-half header following a clipped cross by Ross Redman.

The drama sparked into life when Stephen McBride left the teams level but Sean Mackle pushed forward to combine with Pauddy Judge and restore the hosts’ control.

Portadown failed to manage the closing stages and a Cushley shot followed by Jenkins’ fine strike secured Ballymena victory and left Ronnie McFall’s men with a similar outcome to start 2016 as ended 2015.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Keith O’Hara, Garry Breen, Sean Mackle, Darren Murray, Mark McAllister, Marcio Soares, Matthew Parker, Robert Garrett. Subs: Billy Brennan, Jordan Lyttle, Mark Carson, Padraig Judge (on for Soares, 62 mins), Christian Stewart.