Portadown 0-2 Ballymena United: David Jeffrey has no problem with winning ugly
David Jeffrey believes the grit Ballymena United displayed in the second period was every bit as crucial as the two first-half goals his side clocked up against Portadown.
Kyle Owens headed home the opener from Tony Kane's cross after just four minutes and then, when Brendan Shannon coughed up possession, Johnny McMurray took the ball and bore down on goal before sliding his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The failure to put Portadown away left Ballymena vulnerable to a fightback and Mark Carson did come close with a long-range effort that came back off the base of a post just before the half-time break.
Stephen Hughes was off target a couple of times in a second half that saw the Ports bring much more of an attacking threat after the introduction of Mark McAllister from the bench.
"We put the challenge up to the players, we knew it was going to be very difficult, so I am pleased with the victory, but I have to say that I am extra pleased with the clean sheet," said Jeffrey.
"First half I thought we played some great football, second half I thought Portadown were probably the side on top and we were relying on counter attacks.
"We did that side of the game which a lot of people don't enjoy doing, that's working very hard and, dare I say, winning ugly - people throwing their bodies in the way of shots and really giving everything they had."
PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Carson, Byrne, O'Hara, Rodgers, Shannon (Kirwan, 65 mins), Garrett, Henderson, Simpson (Withers, 78 mins), Ferris (McAllister, 46 mins), Hughes. Unused subs: Larkin, Mouncey.
BALLYMENA: Blayney, T Kane, Ervin, Owens, Wallace, Millar, Thompson (Jenkins, 61 mins), McCloskey (E Kane, 82 mins), Loughran, Friel (Faulkner, 77 mins), McMurray. Unused subs: Glendinning, Flynn.
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor).
Man of the match: Johnny McMurray.
Match rating: 7/10.