Casement a class act as Ports struggle to see off PSNI hosts

Chris Casement finds the net with an extra-time free-kick against PSNI during Saturday's Irish Cup tie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Chris Casement finds the net with an extra-time free-kick against PSNI during Saturday's Irish Cup tie. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Chris Casement’s touch of class provided a rare highlight on an Irish Cup afternoon to forget for Portadown.

PSNI set aside NIFL Championship One struggles to push the Ports to extra-time despite trailing to Gary Twigg’s early finish.

Twigg’s hooked strike off a Casement corner-kick after seven minutes suggested a comfortable passage into the sixth round. It proved the opposite as strong winds made life difficult for both sets of players but PSNI carved out the greater number of scoring opportunities.

David Miskelly protected the Ports’ trophy interests with two saves early in the second half to frustrate Mark Anderson and Kyle Agnew.

Agnew had levelled the match by racing clear of Portadown’s offside appeals to slot home on 24 minutes.

The decisive moment arrived in the second period of extra-time with 110 minutes on the cup clock. The decision to award a free-kick against the impressive Laurelvale-born Jordan Dane - on loan from Glenavon - appeared harsh but the quality of Casement’s curling finish into the top corner proved beyond question.

Paul McElroy, a January arrival, offered encouraging signs on his first appearance in the Portadown starting line-up.

Clear sights of goal proved limited from the Ports, with Garry Breen heading over before the break then Mark McAllister’s snapshot dropping the wrong side of the post. Tim Mouncey and Darren Murray both tested David Harrison before Casement’s magic moment.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Chris Ramsey, Garry Breen, Sean Mackle, Mark McAllister, Tim Mouncey, Paul McElroy, Gary Twigg, Robert Garrett. Subs: Billy Brennan, Peter McMahon (on for Mackle, 55 mins), Darren Murray (on for McAllister, 72 mins), Michael Gault (on for Mouncey, 72 mins), Shea Conaty.