CHAMPIONSHIP: Slick Newry recover to see off sorry Portadown

Portadown manager Niall Currie.
Portadown manager Niall Currie.

Newry City AFC bounced back from an early deficit to see off Portadown by 4-1 at Shamrock Park and increase the tale of woe for Niall Currie’s pre-season title favourites.

Portadown entered the game bolstered by back-to-back derby defeats of Loughgall inside four days - the first putting a stop to the side’s four-game league losing streak.

City, however, made the journey to Shamrock Park with confidence high off five wins and a draw from the seven fixtures since September’s success in Newry by Portadown.

City’s pace on the break proved problematic for the Ports but the hosts had the first significant sight of goal when Adam McCallum fired goalwards following a corner-kick but Stephen Hughes produced a block on the line.

It was 1-0 before the half-hour mark, however, as Fra Brennan’s free-kick into the danger area dropped for Chris Lavery to race in and convert.

City substitute Marcus McKeown had to be alert to hack away a loose ball after Stephen Maguire raced off his line to block a break.

This sparked City into life and it was level on 36 minutes in somewhat fortuitous circumstances when James Walker’s shot bounced around the packed penalty area and Kyle Neill’s attempt to clear the threat only diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper.

If there was an element of luck in the first for Newry, the second encapsulated everything positive about the bright visitors.

A kick was headed forward from midfield by Keith Johnston and Mark McCabe slipped a pass across for the supporting Walker to fire past John Connolly.

Connolly was at the centre of the action five minutes into the second half when Newry capped a thrilling finish to the first half by moving 3-1 up after the break.

The Ports failed to deal with a corner-kick and Declan Carville’s header was stopped by the diving Connolly but the Newry forward fired the rebound high into the roof of the net.

Substitute Peter Duffin tested Maguire moments after coming on then Johnston’s lob over the advancing Connolly drifted just past the post.

It was 4-1 when McCabe knocked in an injury-time goal off Martin Havern’s pass.

PORTADOWN: Connolly, Brennan, Neill, McVey, McCallum, Kilmartin, Wilson, Warwick (N.Henderson, 46), C.Lavery (Salley, 62), Amuneke (Duffin, 68), S.Lavery.

Subs (not used): Larkin, Hazley.

NEWRY CITY AFC: Maguire, McArdle, M.Hughes, Mullen (McKeown, 14), Boyle, McCann, Walker, Carville, McCabe, S.Hughes, Johnston (Havern, 82).

Subs (not used): Cunningham, Crooks, Irwin.

Referee: N.Robinson.