PORTADOWN’S push for a post-split position in the Danske Bank Premiership top six today (Saturday) suffered derby disappointment away to Dungannon Swifts.
Two balls in from wide on the right by Michael McKerr – one in each half – allowed Portadown-born Johnny Topley to break the deadlock with a diving header before Chris Ramsey turned the ball into his own net in the 2-0 defeat.
The Swifts played with determination and passion Portadown failed to match. In fact, the visitors to Stangmore Park failed to force Johnny Curran into any saves of note until an injury-time block to deny Kevin Braniff after Richard Lecky’s initial effort had bounced off the crossbar.
The Swifts came close to breaking the deadlock inside the opening seconds as James Costello’s cross was attacked by Ryan Harpur then Matt Hazley before a Costello backheel was cleared off the line by Ross Redman.
The opening goal arrived on 27 minutes as Portadown lost possession inside the away half then failed to either close down McKerr’s inswinging cross from deep or mark Topley and the latter directed a diving header past David Miskelly.
Aaron Burns delivered an angled ball into the box in response but Darren Murray struggled to direct his glancing header under the crossbar.
A Redman corner-kick was then headed wide by Garry Breen before the break.
Portadown produced some early second-half pressure without testing Curran as Braniff’s snapshot dropped past the post.
The Swifts made it 2-0 before the hour mark thanks to good work on the right and a cross by McKerr which Ramsey steered over his own line during an attempt to clear the danger.
The introduction of Lecky off the substitutes’ bench as another striker failed to increase the attacking threat and Curran enjoyed comfortable saves from, firstly, the forward and then Redman.
Injury-time almost presented Portadown with a consolation but Lecky’s sliding effort hit the frame of the goal and Curran was on hand to protect his clean sheet by pushing away Braniff’s follow-up drive.
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Johnny Curran, Adam McMinn, Matt Hazley, Michael McKerr, Grant Hutchinson, Cameron Grieve, Johnny Topley, Ryan Harpur, Emmet Friars, Ryan O’Neill, James Costello. Subs: Johnny Montgomery, PJ Lavery, Chris Lavery, Neal Gawley, Josh Cahoon (on for J.Topley, 49 mins).
PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Sean Mackle, Ross Redman, Chris Ramsey, Garry Breen, Aaron Burns, Darren Murray, Kevin Braniff, Tim Mouncey, Andrew Burns, Neil McCafferty. Subs: Jamie McArdle, Joe McNeill (on for Tim Mouncey, 57 mins), Mark Patton (on for Garry Breen, 75 mins), Richard Lecky (on for Andrew Burns, 63 mins), Ciaran Rooney.
Referee: Colin Burns.