Result: Portadown 3-2 Glenavon

Derby reactionLurgan Mail Sports Editor Gary Ellis interviewed Gary Hamilton after the game in which Glenavon were unlucky not to come away from Shamrock Park with at least a point after putting in a battling performance.

Glenavon had put Portadown under considerable pressure with a number of corners but the home side went ahead in the 25th minute from the penalty spot. Gary Twigg’s header from Robert Garrett’s cross had rebounded off the bar and as the Portadown striker and James Singleton challenged for the loose ball, Referee Andrew Davey adjudged that the young Glenavon full back had fouled the striker. Chris Casement hammered the spot kick past Alan Blaney to put the home side in front.

The Ports went 2-0 ahead in the 35th minute when Peter McMahon sped down the right wing, crossed to the penalty spot where McAllister laid it back to Twigg. Blayney was unable to hold the striker’s shot and Sean Mackle was quick enough to nip in a stroke in the rebound.

Rhys Marshall pulls the trigger to make it 2-1. Photo by Alan Weir.

Rhys Marshall pulls the trigger to make it 2-1. Photo by Alan Weir.

Rhys Marshall pulled a goal back in the 44th minute, firing into the roof of the net from close range. The move had started with Ciaran Caldwell picking up the ball in the centre of the park, playing it out to Kyle Neill who crossed to the near post where Ciaran Martyn helped it on to the far post.

11 year old Jackson Ruddell 'scores' during the Half Time challenge. Photo by Alan Weir.

11 year old Jackson Ruddell ‘scores’ during the Half Time challenge. Photo by Alan Weir.

The home side restored their two goal cushion just four minutes into the second half when Blayney dropped Redman’s corner and McAllister forced the ball over the line after an initial effort by Tim Mouncey had been blocked on the line by Marshall.

David Miskelly tries to clear under pressure from Ciaran Martyn and William Murphy was unlucky when his header hit the bar. Photo by Alan Weir.

David Miskelly tries to clear under pressure from Ciaran Martyn and William Murphy. Photo by Alan Weir.

Winkie Murphy beat David Miskelly to Gareth McKeown’s long throw in the 60th minute but his header hit the top of the Ports crossbar. Braniff then drew a good save from Miskelly but a minute later the Ports keeper was beaten when Eoin Bradley smashed in a low shot to the bottom corner from 22 yards in the 72nd minute to give Glenavon another foothold in the game.

Eoin Bradley fires in Glenavon's second and makes it 3-2. Photo by Alan Weir.

Eoin Bradley fires in Glenavon’s second and makes it 3-2. Photo by Alan Weir.

Moments later McAllister broke but his shot was well blocked by Conor Dillon as he failed to lay the ball back to an unmarked Twigg. The frantic action continued with substitute Gary Hamilton slipping the ball into the box for Caldwell but Miskelly was bravely out at his feet to smother the ball.

After Kyle Neill’s free kick rebounded off the wall Braniff dinked the ball back into the box, Neill crossed from the right side of the Ports box and Hamilton went down as he tried to turn the ball in at the back post but his claims for a penalty were waved away.

Miskelly made a superb save to stop and hold onto a fierce drive from Braniff in the 87th minute.

Keith O’Hara was sent off for a high challenge on Ciaran Martyn in the 88th minute right on the edge of the Reds box as he burst onto a pass from Hamilton. Andy McGrory actually fired the ball into the net but it seemed the referee had already blown for the high tackle.

Photo by Alan Weir.

Photo by Alan Weir.

Photo by Alan Weir.

Photo by Alan Weir.

With Glenavon unable to capitalise on the following free kick, ten man Portadown were able to see the rest of the game out to regain top spot on goal difference, with Cliftonville losing at Seaview and Linfield being held to a draw by Glentoran at Windsor Park.

The large contingent of Glenavon supporters applaud their team off at the end of the hard-fought match. Photo by Alan Weir.

The large contingent of Glenavon supporters applaud their team off at the end of the hard-fought match. Photo by Alan Weir.

Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, O’Hara, Breen, P McMahon, Mackle, McMallister, Mouncey, Twigg, Garrett. Subs: Brennan, Ramsey, Conaty, Lyttle, M McMahon

Glenavon: Blayney, McKeown, Neill, Murphy, Bradley, Dillon, Caldwell, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn, Singleton. Subs: Kilmartin, Hamilton, McGrory, McNally, Hoey

Preview: Portadown v Glenavon

Hopefully the rain will hold off and tomorrow’s Danske Bank Premiership Mid-Ulster derby at Shamrock Park will go ahead as planned (kick off 3pm). Tonight at the Civic Centre Glenavon is holding a Gala Ball to celebrate the Club’s 125th Anniversary and a positive result against Portadown tomorrow would be a great way to mark the occasion.

Shane McCabe is suspended for the game after picking up his 5th caution of the season but another ex-Ports player, striker Kevin Braniff, is available to face his old side on Saturday before his additional two game ban following his sending off against Linfield kicks in on Monday.

Darren Murray and Michael Gault miss out for Portadown as they complete a two game ban following from their sending off in the defeat to Coleraine on October 25th.

Only four points separate the top five teams in the league with Portadown currently in second place, a point ahead of 5th placed Glenavon. A win for Gary Hamilton’s side would be a massive result and Glenavon’s superb away form, which has seen them score four goals in no less than four away games, could come into play, though high-scoring Portadown will be out to add to their 4-2 win at Mourneview Park earlier in the season.

“They convincingly beat us then and they deserved to beat us but if we can put in the sort of performance we’ve been doing in the last few games, especially in the away games where we’ve been scoring goals, then I’m confident we can come away with a positive result tomorrow. We have the players with the right character and spirit and on the day it’s who wants it the most. We need everyone to keep showing the commitment and attitude that we’ve had in most of the games this season, and we’ve a good chance,” Gary told us on Friday.

The Glenavon boss identified Gary Twigg and Peter McMahon as two of Portadown’s key players when he previewed the derby game with Gary Ellis of the Lurgan Mail earlier in the week.

Gary derby
Match Officials

The Northern Ireland Referees Association are holding their Annual Charity Day which sees all their members donating their match fee to this year’s chosen Charity which is S.A.N.D.S (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity). For more information on SANDS go to https://www.uk-sands.org.

Referee Assistant 1 Assistant 2 4th Official
Andrew Davey George Argyropoulos Mark O’Brien Damien Basketfield

 

Danske Bank Half Time Challenge

There will be a Danske Bank Half Time Challenge taking place throughout the season with the first one taking place at the Portadown v Glenavon game at Shamrock Park on 15 November.

There is £500 up for grabs for two fans (family members or friends) when they take part in a shooting competition at half time. Further details and the entry form can be found on the NIFL website here and is also being promoted in-branch by Danske Bank.

The successful applicants will be selected at random and notified on Thursday 13 November.

Result: Glentoran 2-4 Glenavon

Gary's definitely claiming this one! Photo by Alan Weir

Gary’s definitely claiming this one! Photo by Alan Weir

Shane McCabe sums up a great comeback win for Glenavon as he speaks to the Lurgan Mail’s Sports Editor Gary Ellis.Shane vid matchCurtis Allen put the hosts ahead in under 3 minutes when he beat Alan Blaney to the ball as he came in an attempt to collect Niall Henderson’s left wing free kick.

Shortly after Eoin Bradley and Gary Hamilton had failed to capitalise on good openings in the Glens box, a quick break from a Glenavon corner allowed Steven Gordon to play in Jordan Stewart and he finished with an excellent curling right foot shot past Blaney’s dive to make it 2-0.

It was looking bleak for the visitors at that stage but full credit to Glenavon as the players came storming back with what was initially credited as a hat trick from player-manager Hamilton to give the Lurgan Blues a 3-2 half-time lead. After the game Gary, with his customary honesty, credited the second goal to Rhys Marshall. “Rhys’s header was going in and I was about to tap it in to make sure when the defender got a touch and hit it into the roof of the net,”  the Glenavon striker told the press after the game.

There was no doubts about Hamilton’s first goal which came in the 34th minute when he smashed a right foot shot into the roof of the net after Kyle Neill had nodded Gareth McKeown’s deep cross on to Ciaran Caldwell. He laid the ball back to Hamilton to fire in an unstoppable shot from 8 yards.

Glenavon’s second goal was looking like a tap in for the boss from a yard out when Rhys Marshall appeared at the back post and nodded down a deep free kick from Neill but apparently the final touch was off a defender on the goal line.

Winkie Murphy rolls back the years as he out-jumps Stephen McAlorum.  Photo by Alan Weir

Winkie Murphy rolls back the years as he out-jumps Stephen McAlorum. Photo by Alan Weir

Caldwell went very close as he ran onto a chest down on the edge of the area from Winkie Murphy but his low shot flashed just wide of Morris’s left hand post.

Glenavon’s third goal came in first half stoppage time when the Glens defence failed to get the ball clear and Marshall got possession in the ‘D’ and slipped it to Hamilton on the right of the box. His shot took a deflection off Barry Holland that lifted it over Morris to take the visitors into the break 3-2 in front.

Glentoran were a shadow of the team that had stormed 2-0 in front inside 11 minutes of the first half and Glenavon could easily have extended the lead. Caldwell was unlucky on several occasions.

Kyle Neill scored the fourth goal to cap a great comeback win. Photo by Alan Weir

Kyle Neill scored the fourth goal to cap a great comeback win. Photo by Alan Weir

Kyle Neill made it 4-2 in the 72nd minute with an unstoppable left foot drive into the roof of the net as his run was picked out by a great ball over the top from Bradley. The former Glens player continued his run into the box and gave Elliott Morris no chance as he unleashed an unstoppable shot past the keeper at the near post.

Ciaran Caldwell was a powerhouse in the Glenavon midfield.  Photo by Alan Weir

Ciaran Caldwell was a powerhouse in the Glenavon midfield. Photo by Alan Weir

Morris made a great save to turn away a powerful free kick from Bradley in the 83rd minute and the Derry man had strong claims for a penalty denied a minute later when he was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Niall Henderson.

In the final minute Blaney came out to deny Allen a late consolation and in the end the visitors left The Oval with a well-deserved 3 points that brings them level on points with Crusaders and keeps them just a point behind next weeks opponents, second-placed  Portadown.

Eoin Bradley hurdles a challenge from Glens defender Johnny Addis.  Photo by Alan Weir

Eoin Bradley hurdles a challenge from Glens defender Johnny Addis. Photo by Alan Weir

Glentoran: Morris, Magee (Birney 25), Addis, Holland, Henderson, Gordon, McAlorum,  Stewart, O’Hanlon (McCaffrey 46), Allen, Nelson (Scullion 62). Subs not used: McKee, Hogg (GK)

Goals: Allen 3, Stewart 11

Cautions: Gordon 41

Glenavon: Blaney, McKeown, Murphy, Dillon, Singleton (McGrory 46), Marshall, McCabe, Caldwell, Neill (Martyn 74), Hamilton (Kilmartin 78), Bradley. Subs not used: McNally, Hoey.

Goals: Hamilton 34, 45+2, Marshall 36, Neill 72

Cautions: Singleton 29

Referee: Ian McNabb (Carrickfergus)