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Allan Jenkins' ace strike wins seven-goal thriller in the mud

Portadown 3-4 Ballymena

By Keith Bailie

Ballymena United emerged from the Shamrock Park mudbath with all three points, after another thrilling encounter between the Sky Blues and Portadown.

Allan Jenkins was the New Year's Day hero, smashing home an 89th-minute piledriver, as the rain poured down upon an already sodden surface. It was a game reminiscent of last year's 5-5 draw between the two mid-table clubs, although perhaps there was a little more quality on display this time.

United boss Glenn Ferguson believes the seven-goal thriller was a credit to the Irish League.

"I think it was a great advertisement for local football," said Ferguson.

"Despite the wind, the rain and the mud, both sets of players battled for 90 minutes and tried to play good football when possible.

"Of the seven goals, there were some smashers in there.

"I think both teams deserve credit considering the weather, but I'm delighted we kept fighting to the end and got the points."

Ballymena took the lead on the half-hour mark. Stephen McBride feed the ball to David Cushley, who unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot from 30-yards.

The ball cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the goal line where Allen Jenkins was on hand to head the rebound home.

Portadown equalised five minutes later. Chris Casement burst into the penalty box before cutting the ball into the path of Marcio Soares who made no mistake from 10-yards.

The Ports grabbed the lead in the 53rd minute when Ross Redman's cross was powered home by unmarked Garry Breen.

United refused to give in and five mintues later Stephen McBride exchanged passes with Gary Thompson, before rifling in his first goal for the Sky Blues.

Portadown regained the with 22-minutes left, when Sean Mackle hammered a 20-yard effort into the net but it was 3-3 within 60 seconds with a trademark thunderbolt from David Cushley, almost matched by Jenkins in the last minute.

Portadown boss Ronnie McFall was unimpressed by his team's performance, the new year failed to spark his team into life. "We conceded a number of very poor goals and had chances to score three or four more goals. I'm very disappointed," said McFall.

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