PORTADOWN will kick off the post-split Carling Premiership schedule with a trip to Windsor Park on Saturday, April 7 following tonight’s (Saturday’s) defeat of Coleraine.
Goals by Conor McCloskey and Richard Lecky left Portadown with a 2-0 win and three points on home soil in front of the Sky TV cameras as Irish League football wrapped up the pre-split programme.
Portadown proved convincing overall at Shamrock Park to jump seven points clear of fourth-placed Coleraine - with Cliftonville level with Ronnie McFall’s men in second spot.
“I felt over the 90 minutes we deserved the win and played some good football against Coleraine, “ said McFall, the Ports boss. “We created some good chances and, at times, just lacked that final delivery but looked positive overall.
“It was important to get the victory as Cliftonville won this afternoon and we now hold a seven-point lead over Coleraine.
“It was a good team performance and we displayed plenty of hunger and commitment across the pitch.
“Coleraine had a period of pressure in the second half, as expected, but I felt we managed to deal with any high balls.
“Conor McCloskey may have started to tire a bit in the second half but was very good in the first.
“Richard Lecky scored our second goal and it was a nice reward for his hard work as he continues to build up that match sharpness following the recent ankle operation.
“Richard unfortunately had to come on due to Kevin Braniff’s early injury.
“Kevin trained with us this week but was always considered a gamble due to his hamstring trouble.
“He displayed his quality to set up the first goal but had to come off straight away and now we hope the rest will help before we meet Linfield.
“I think, at the end of the season, we will have played more away games than home as the post-split run gives us four out of five on the road.
“We want to secure European football as that is important for the club financially but also a great stage for everyone connected to Portadown.”
Portadown’s remaining Carling Premiership fixtures are as follows: Saturday, April 7 - Linfield (away); Tuesday, April 10 - Crusaders (away); Saturday, April 14 - Glentoran (home); Saturday, April 21 - Coleraine (away); Saturday, April 28 - Cliftonville (away).