Familiar surroundings but unusual circumstances for Ross Redman
Ross Redman was back in familiar surroundings on Saturday for a fixture that turned out far from familiar for the Ballymena United player.
The 31-year-old spent over a decade at Shamrock Park and had to travel just a few short miles across town from his Portadown home before what proved an afternoon of many happy returns.
His sense of comfort in such surroundings was somewhat disrupted by a decision to play the left-back at centre-back due to Ballymena’s significant injury issues.
That proved the first in a number of unusual experiences for Redman as he went on to score a first Irish League goal since September 2018 that gave Ballymena back that winning feeling for the first time since January 30.
“The goal was relief more than anything...for the team and then, personally, when not someone who scores that many you’ve got to enjoy the moment,” said Redman. “I don’t think I scored that many when here at Shamrock Park playing for Portadown.
“We’ve players out like Kofi Balmer and Johnny Addis, then Jim Ervin has played a lot of games...so when asked I was just happy to help out.
“Once you get over 30 years old you are always happy to just be playing, no matter the position.
“It was strange, although I played in there for around a half on Tuesday against Cliftonville so that maybe relaxed me a wee bit for today’s start.
“I enjoyed it to be honest.
“When you look at the back four you had me and Trai as centre-backs having each played wing-back all year, then Andy McGrory at right-back coming back from long-term injury but excellent and Sean Graham in his first or second start.
“Communication-wise it was an all-new back four, plus with goalkeeper Ross Glendinning in and out of the side this season.
“It’s more about concentration than anything, you save your legs more than when playing left-back or wing-back but you cannot ever switch off.
“Before scoring I almost put a Portadown player in when we were attacking our own corner but it comes back to me, Ben Guy nicks it and Ross makes the save.
“It’s nice coming back and hopefully I’ll be coming back for another few years.”
Redman reflected on his return as an experienced player to the club which offered him a first taste of Irish League life.
“It’s a very young Ballymena squad overall...but it’s probably a young league overall,” said Redman. “At Portadown you know there’s going to be an abundance of young talent.
“You can see it in young Luke Wilson as captain and Lee Bonis is still learning but so dangerous.
“We went five without a win so the pressure was on.
“But it came down to us regrouping and not letting the heads drop.
“It’s always up to the more experienced heads to push the boys on.
“But we know the quality is in the squad so it’s about application.”
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