Shamrock Park stalemate a first point in McGibbon era

Mark McAllister up against Ballinamallard United's Jake Dykes on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Mark McAllister up against Ballinamallard United's Jake Dykes on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

A Shamrock Park stalemate on Saturday between Portadown and Ballinamallard United lacked the positive passages of play on display across periods of previous performances under caretaker manager Pat McGibbon.

However, the final whistle confirmed a significant and welcome end product with a point which served as an immediate reward on the day and what McGibbon will be hoping can prove the foundation for future progress.

The arrival of only a fourth clean sheet in this season’s 34-game Danske Bank Premiership fixture list highlights the search for defensive solidity and McGibbon’s post-match interview put the focus on that as a steeping stone to future points.

Matthew Parker held on to the left-back spot, with Ross Redman moved into an advanced role on the wing. Chris Casement continued to operate in an attacking central position as McGibbon’s tactical reshuffle attempted to gain the edge.

Although the attack failed to spark into life, the appearance together of the club’s two most senior strikers - Gary Twigg and Mark McAllister - marked another plus which could reap key rewards over the final weeks.

Twigg squandered the Ports’ most promising sight of goal by attacking a Casement cross but lacking the power in his diving header to convert.

Ballinamallard held the upper hand in terms of possession and attempts on goal but, ultimately, lacked the cutting edge to find a path past a determined Ports panel.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Ramsey, Matthew Parker, Garry Breen, Ken Oman, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett, Chris Casement, Gary Twigg, Ross Redman, Mark McAllister. Subs: Martin Marron, Tim Mouncey, Sean Mackle (on for Garrett, 61 mins), Jake Richardson (on for Redman, 80 mins), Nathaniel Ferris (on for McAllister, 87 mins).