League slump now stands at six after latest blank scoresheet

Philip Lowry (right) came close on Saturday to grabbing his first goal in Portadown colours. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Philip Lowry (right) came close on Saturday to grabbing his first goal in Portadown colours. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

A run of 834 minutes without finding the net against Cliftonville proves a damning indictment of the gap between one of the most successful clubs in the modern Irish League and a fading great.

The gulf was apparent to the away fanbase at Solitude long before the final whistle.

Cliftonville displayed a sense of movement and comfort in possession on the pitch across the first half which left the Ports struggling to gain any foothold.

Philip Lowry came close to breaking the deadlock but his shot lacked the power to trouble Conor Devlin between the Cliftonville posts.

David Miskelly, on his return to the starting line-up, pulled off slick saves to frustrate Chris Curran and Jay Donnelly.

However, Donnelly grabbed the game’s only goal just past the half-hour mark by ghosting in unmarked to head home Martin Donnelly’s delivery from the left wing.

Miskelly was alert after the interval to frustrate Martin Donnelly and Curran but Portadown displayed greater drive and determination.

The Ports’ introduction of Mark McAllister off the sidelines added to an attacking threat too often absent from before the break when Gary Twigg suffered in a solo striker role.

Lowry was unable to direct his header off a Chris Casement cross wide of Devlin and the latter’s free-kick created confusion inside the box, with Twigg then heading wide off a sweeping Ross Redman delivery.

It proved another frustrating afternoon for the Ports in a league slump which must offer cause for long-term concern.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Keith O’Hara, Sean Mackle, Ken Oman, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett, Gary Twigg, Matthew Parker, Philip Lowry. Subs: Mark McAllister (on for Parker, 46 mins), Chris Ramsey, Marcio Soares (on for Mackle, 75 mins), Mike Withers, Tim Mouncey.