Kyle Owens (62)
Kevin Braniff (84)


Kyle Owens celebrates opening the scoring (©INPHO/Brian Little)


Two second half goals from Kyle Owens and Kevin Braniff saw holders Ballymena United continue their defence of the BetMcLean League Cup with victory over Portadown at The Showgrounds.

The Sky Blues might have gone ahead as early as the eight minute, however, when Braniff smashed the ball against the woodwork while a Fra McCaffrey effort a short time later looped over the bar.

The chances continued with Andrew Burns seeing an effort parried away before, moments after that, the same player struck the post.

Joe McKinney was next to threaten when one-on-one with Chris McGaughey only to fire straight at the 'keeper.

The deadlock was finally broken just after the hour when Owens connected with a well delivered Burns cross to nod the ball beyond McGaughey.

McKinney might have added a second five minutes later but the Ports 'keeper did well to turn away his fierce drive.

But United's second eventually arrived with six minutes to go in spectacular fashion as Braniff's free-kick from wide on the left drifted beyond McGaughey's reach into the net.

And there might have been a third right at the end after Leroy Millar struck the bar from a free-kick.

BBC Sport NI coverage

Ballymena United: Glendinning, Owens, Flynn, Thompson, Braniff, Burns, Ervin, McCullough, Millar, McCaffrey, McKinney subs Brennan (not used), Kane (not used), Friel (replaced McCaffrey 65), McCloskey (replaced Burns 85), Loughran (not used)

Portadown: McGaughey, Brennan, Neill, McVey, McCallum, Kilmartin, Z. Wilson, Warwick, Hazley, Amuneke, S. Lavery subs Connolly (not used), Ferris (replaced Amuneke 56), Holmes (replaced Neill 87), Upton (not used), Duffin (replaced Wilson 75)

Referee: Lee Tavinder