Ross Larkin (56)

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Ross Larkin celebrates with his Portadown team mates (Picture: Philip Magowan/PressEye.com)

LARKIN WINNER KEEPS PORTS CLINGING ON

A Ross Larkin goal early in the second half saw Portadown stave off relegation for another while with victory over Ballinamallard United at Shamrock Park.

The 17-year-old struck on 56 minutes from close range after Sean Mackle did well to deliver the ball over from the right.

The Mallards might have moved in front early on when Stuart Hutchinson turned a Jason McCartney ball onto the crossbar while, at the other end, Matt Hazley got beyond the United defence only to finish weakly in front of goal.

Ballinamallard created other first half chances through Ryan Mayse and Ross Taheny before the Ports defence then scrambled the ball clear as Ryan Curran looked poised to strike.

After the break and Larkin's goal, Mackle tested visiting 'keeper Richard Brush from distance.

However, despite the Mallards pressing late in the game the Ports held on to grab another three points to preserve their top flight status until at least the final whistle in Saturday's game between Ards and Carrick Rangers.

Portadown: McGaughey, Shannon, Henderson, Breen, R. Larkin, Garrett, L. Wilson, Mackle, Hughes, Hazley, Soares subs Lyttle (not used), Holmes (replaced Hughes 80), Gardiner (replaced Soares 72), Macuilaitis (not used), Richardson (not used)

Ballinamallard United: Brush, McLaughlin, Taheny, McCabe, McGinty, McCartney, McConnell, Morris, Mayse, Hutchinson, Curran subs Mullen (replaced Hutchinson 54), Crawford (not used), Frempong (replaced Taheny 84), Elliott (not used), McCann (not used)

Referee: Steven Gregg

Attendance: 404