Irish Premiership: Portadown 5-5 Ballymena Utd

Portadown and Ballymena play out a 5-5 thriller at Shamrock Park in the Irish Premiership

Ballymena United scored two late goals to salvage a draw from a thrilling 10-goal encounter with Portadown, for whom striker Gary Twigg scored a hat-trick.

Twigg grabbed two goals in the first half, with Peter McMahon also on target, while Matthew Tipton and Darren Boyce scored goals for the visitors.

Twigg completed his treble, Johnny Taylor reduced the lead, then Darren Murray rounded Stuart Addis for 5-3.

Tipton headed in and Jenkins bundled home Tony Kane's cross on 87 minutes.

Portadown now lie joint second in the table, level on points with Linfield who have a game in hand, and four points adrift of Crusaders.

Twigg fired into the net after Murray chested the ball down in the third minute but Tipton's left-foot shot from the edge of the area restored parity a minute later.

David Miskelly made a fine save from a Tipton shot before McMahon struck with a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area for his sixth goal of the season in the 14th minute.

Allan Jenkins, Matthew Tipton and Darren Boyce all scored for Ballymena
Allan Jenkins, Matthew Tipton and Darren Boyce all scored for Ballymena

The ball trundled through the legs of several Ballymena defenders and came off the post before nestling in Stuart Addis's net.

Tipton squandered another opportunity when he blazed over from six yards out and Twigg made the Sky Blues pay for their profligacy by taking advantage of poor defending to shoot low into the bottom corner after 28.

Boyce then scored his 10th goal of the season, firing in the rebound in the 42nd minute after Jenkins's initial shot was saved by Miskelly.

The non-stop action continued after the interval, Murray blasting over with the goal gaping, then Twigg calmly rolling the ball through the goalkeeper's legs on 66 minutes.

Johnny Taylor appeared to get a touch on Kane's delivery for Ballymena's third but Murray restored the hosts' two-goal advantage with eight minutes remaining.

Two minutes later Tipton headed in from Kane's free-kick and Ballymena skipper Jenkins secured an unlikely point late on to give his side a morale boost ahead of next week's League Cup final against Cliftonville.

Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson: "Given we were 5-3 down with 10 or 15 minutes remaining I'm happy to take a point - both sets of players deserve credit for putting on a show like that in very difficult conditions.

"The supporters were certainly well entertained and the reporters will have plenty to write about, but myself and Ronnie (McFall) will take a dim view of some aspects of our sides' play. Everything we worked on through the week went out the window."

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