Portstewart sitting pretty in fifth spot after derby win at Ballymoney

CROSSED LEGS. Action from Ballymoney Utd v Portstewart on Saturday at the Riada Stadium. The seasiders won by the odd goal in three.INBM48-14 043SC.
CROSSED LEGS. Action from Ballymoney Utd v Portstewart on Saturday at the Riada Stadium. The seasiders won by the odd goal in three.INBM48-14 043SC.
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An injury to Portstewart defender Luke Bradley saw Saturday’s derby tie at the Joey Dunlop Centre being ended prematurely.

Bradley was taken to hospital as a precaution after he was knocked out after landing badly on his neck in stoppage time.

The talented youngster, who Portstewart signed from Coleraine at the start of the season, was taken to hospital, but later discharged.

Before that, the visitors looked in total control throughout the contest.

They broke the deadlock after 13 minutes when a poor clearance from the Ballymoney defence fell straight to Robert Donnell who rifled his first time shot in off the post giving Moore in the home goal no chance.

A rejuvenated Ballymoney got the second half off to the perfect start when McClelland hit past Madison on 48 minutes to equalise.

Both teams continued to play good football with Portstewart having the edge.

A great save by Moore in the home goal on 66 minutes after a Peden free kick kept the home team in the game.

Ballymoney conceded a free kick on 78 minutes for an alleged hand ball outside the box, the resulting free kick was curved into the top corner by Portstewart’s free kick specialist James Peden, who put the visitors back in front.

Following the injury to Bradley the tie was blown up in injury time to allow the youngster to have treatment on the pitch.

The win takes Portstewart up to fifth in the League, well in front of any other north west opposition.

Ports assistant Aaron Forgrave described the tie as a ‘poor match’, but added that it was three points for his side.

“It was a poor match to be fair.

“Ballymoney set their team up in a way that was very hard to break down, and that kind of hindered play a little bit.

“But we battled hard and the boys were rewarded in the end.”

The Portstewart assistant manager paid tribute to the Ballymoney United officials for their help: “We were very worried about Luke Bradley, it looked like a serious injury for a time.

“But I have to give credit to the Ballymoney officials they were very helpful, and we are all just thankful that it was nothing too serious. Luke is now on the mend and will have a few weeks out.

“He got checked out at the hospital after the game, and was released later on Saturday night.”

Portstewart face two tough home games in the coming weeks.

This Saturday they entertain League leaders Lurgan Celtic followed by an Irish Cup tie with Newry City the week after.

“There is no doubt it will be a tough few weeks, but I know that our players are good enough, we are fit enough it just depends how we turn up on the day,” said Forgrave.

“Lurgan Celtic are a good side, they are physical, and have a number of experienced players in their ranks, so if we get our preparations right I have no doubt that we can give them a game,” said Forgrave.

The tie has a 2pm kick off.