Injury issues add to Ports’ problems

Michael Gault and Gary Twigg celebrate Chris Casement's goal against Dungannon Swifts in the 3-1 weekend defeat for Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Michael Gault and Gary Twigg celebrate Chris Casement's goal against Dungannon Swifts in the 3-1 weekend defeat for Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Festive cheer was in short supply for Portadown boss Ronnie McFall after this derby defeat, which followed news of an injury setback for a key player.

The Ports’ four-match unbeaten run ended at Stangmore Park where Dungannon claimed a deserved win.

And a bad afternoon for fans was made worse when McFall revealed Chris Ramsey faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The defender suffered a fractured metatarsal against Glentoran earlier in the week – and is likely to miss the next six weeks.

It is the latest in a series of injuries which have hit the Ports in recent weeks.

“Ramsey injured his metatarsal on Monday night,” McFall confirmed. “Peter McMahon is also out, Jordan Lyttle is out long term as well.

“Mark McAllister is also just back after a hamstring problem, so we’re down to the bare bones.”

Defeat in the derby at Stangmore Park only added to the Ports’ woes.

They looked to be on course for a third straight win when Chris Casement scored after 12 minutes.

Sean Mackle skipped around a defender before squaring the ball to the full-back, who drove home the opener.

But Dungannon are improving under head coach Rodney McAree and equalised nine minutes later.

A corner from Ryan Harpur caused a scramble in the box, with Andrew Burns eventually lifting the ball over the goalkeeper.

And they went in front on the half-hour mark.

Paul McElroy turned a cross back into the path of Harpur, who drove home from 10 yards.

Both sides had chances in an entertaining game.

But Swifts made sure of the points in stoppage time when McElroy took a pass from Ally Teggart and drove home from a tight angle.

McFall said: “We looked a bit off the pace.

“From our perspective the three goals they scored were poor goals which we should have done better with.

“Mackle had a couple of great chances – one in the first half and one in the second half – to make it 2-2 but didn’t take them.

“We were just going for it at the end and got punished with the third goal.”

Dungannon have closed to within a point of ninth-placed Ballinamallard, who they meet next on Boxing Day.

Head coach Rodney McAree felt his side fully deserved the three points.

“We showed a great response after falling behind early on,” he said.

“We thoroughly got back into the game. Whenever we equalised we picked our play up.”