Ballymena United 3 Portadown 0
Ballymena United claimed the three points as they saw off Portadown 3-0 at the Showgrounds on Saturday in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Second half goals from Michael Kerr, Johnney Flynn and Tony Kane sealed the win for the Sky Blues - while Portadown’s Ken Oman was shown a straight red card in the second half for an off the ball incident.
United boss David Jeffrey rang the changes from the 4-0 Irish Cup defeat to Coleraine the weekend before with Tim Allen, Johnny Flynn, Gary Thompson, Kevin Braniff and Joe McKinney coming in to the starting eleven.
In the 33rd minute United created a chance for McMurray but the striker blazed wide from the edge of the box.
Portadown had a chance four minutes later as Robert Garrett had an opening. His shot however was well saved by Tim Allen in the United goal.
Kane tried his luck for the home side just before the break. The midfielder’s curling shot beating Jack Duffin in the Ports goal but not the post and the first half ended scoreless.
Five minutes after the break United made the breakthrough young defender Kerr. The right-back - who was making is debut - touching home a pass from McMurray.
It was 2-0 in the 59th minute as Flynn headed in a corner from Kane. It was a good finish from the big defender.
The Ports were then reduced to ten man as Oman was shown a straight red card in the 62nd minute after an off the ball incident in the United box.
It was the last thing Portadown manager Niall Currie needed with is side trailing 2-0.
Flynn had another chance in the 71st minute - but Duffin did well to save the effort from the defender.
It was 3-0 in the 76th minute as Kane scored from the penalty spot after Joe McKinney had been pulled down by Ports keeper Duffin.
Ballymena: Allen, Kane (Jenkins 77mins), Flynn, Thompson, Faulkner (McCloskey 82mins), Ervin, Millar, Braniff, McKinney, McMurray (Friel 88mins), Kerr.
Subs not used: Glendinning, Loughran.
Portadown: Duffin, Shannon, Oman, Lyttle, McGerrigan, Henderson, Garrett (Megan 88mins), Mackle, Hazley, S Hughes (Foley 66mins), McAllister (Soares 58mins).
Subs not used: L Hughes, Holmes.
Referee: Steven Gregg.