Stranraer seal the win as Ports spread playing time

Darren Murray. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Darren Murray. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown’s pre-season programme featured a tough workout tonight (Friday) against Stranraer from Scotland - with Paul Cairney’s slick strike settling the outcome in the tourists’ favour.

Cairney grabbed the game’s only goal by skipping past a few challenges then drilling home a long-range shot via the underside of the crossbar just before the half-hour mark.

It proved the major talking point but Portadown can point to crucial minutes for 17 players and a number of chances as evidence of a rewarding night.

Jake Richardson proved a threat along the right and delivered on a number of occasions from out wide.

Darren Murray’s summer transfer bid dominated the pre-season focus but the striker looked sharp on his first appearance in front of the Shamrock Park crowd since Portadown rejected the request - with some early jeers from a small section of home supporters and a scuffle with a Stranraer rival late in the half the only controversial moments.

In fact, Murray provided the greatest attacking threat for Portadown and had one shot saved - from a central position off Richardson’s pass - before steering a lob just wide of the target.

Murray also whipped a low sliderule delivery from the right flank to the back post but it proved beyond reach for both Christian Stewart and Mark McAllister.

Billy Brennan dropped low to pull off a smart save late in the game off Mark McGuigan’s shot.

Portadown handed a club debut to former Linfield Swifts left-back Matthew Parker.

PORTADOWN: Billy Brennan, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Keith O’Hara, Ken Oman, Jake Richardson, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett, Christian Stewart, Darren Murray, Mark McAllister. Subs: David Miskelly, Tim Mouncey (on for Gault, 70 mins), Gary Twigg (on for McAllister, 70 mins), Garry Breen, Marcio Soares (on for Murray, 70 mins), Jordan Lyttle (on for O’Hara, 74 mins), Chris Ferguson, Chris Ramsey (on for Casement, 65 mins), Matthew Parker (on for Stewart, 80 mins), Mark Whitten.

STRANRAER: Connor Brennan, Craig Pettigrew, Dave Keenan, Scott Rumsby, Stephen Bell, Ryan Thompson, Paul Cairney, Andy Stirling, Mark McGuigan, Trevor Mutero, Scott Robertson. Subs: Chris Aitken (on for Cairney, 57 mins), Lee Mair, Sam McCloskey (on for Mutero, 46 mins), Max Currie, Josh McCatruane, Liam Rowan, Peter McGill.

Referee: Graham McIlwrath.