Sluggish Ports fall short against leaders
PORTADOWN lacked the passion and purpose to match the Danske Bank Premiership
leaders at Shamrock Park as Cliftonville picked up full points in a 3-1 victory.
Diarmuid O’Carroll rewarded Cliftonville for a strong start to the league game
by breaking the deadlock on eight minutes.
The Ports had a penalty call dismissed around the half-hour mark before
Cliftonville pushed clear in the second half thanks to Joe Gormley and Liam
Cliftonville dominated the initial proceedings and placed Portadown on the
backfoot thanks to slick movement by Boyce, O’Carroll and Stephen Garrett.
The Ports entered the game boosted by three successive home wins in the league
but conceded on eight minutes as an error outside the box allowed Garrett to
deliver a low cross from left to right.
O’Carroll fired the ball back towards goal from the far post and the effort
managed to cross the line.
A drilled cross by Gormley almost created a similar opening for Boyce but the
ball proved beyond reach.
Portadown struggled to gain sustained possession over the first half, with Ross
Redman set-piece deliveries the most promising option but Brian Gartland
enjoying varying degrees of success.
A Redman corner-kick led to a penalty shout by Portadown on the half-hour mark
which referee Alan Black dismissed as ball-to-hand from Kevin Braniff’s header.
Portadown regrouped and created a strong chance early in the second half when
Gary Twigg picked out Braniff inside the box but the captain’s drive dropped
wide of the far post.
However, Cliftonville sparked into life to claim control and carve out a string
of scoring opportunities – with David Miskelly sharp between the posts to keep
the deficit at 1-0.
Miskelly remained on his feet to block Boyce’s progress then the Portadown
goalkeeper prevented Gormley on three occasions in quick succession.
One save by Miskelly, in particular, proved impressed when the goalkeeper
acrobatically clawed away Gormley’s close-range header from an unmarked
Aaron Burns – a recent arrival at the club – stepped off the sidelines to test
Cliftonville’s Conor Devlin with a header from Redman’s corner-kick.
Cliftonville eventually doubled the lead as Portadown collectively struggled to
deal with an upfield pass and Gormley bundled the ball over the line.
Sean Mackle came close to turning home a pass by Redman moments after joining
the match from the sidelines. The substitute made his mark soon after with an
angled drive to cap Braniff’s chipped pass and a chested knockdown by Twigg.
However, hopes of a fightback by the home side ended in disappointment when
Boyce jumped on an underhit backpass by Tim Mouncey and slotted home for
Cliftovnille’s third of the afternoon.
PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Ross Redman, Chris Ramsey, Darren Murray, Kevin
Braniff, Tim Mouncey, Joe McNeill, Brian Gartland, Chris Casement, Neil
McCafferty, Gary Twigg. Subs: Jamie McArdle, Sean Mackle (on for B.Gartland, 69
mins), Aaron Burns (on for J.McNeill, 54 mins), Richard Lecky, Andrew Burns.
CLIFTONVILLE: Conor Devlin, Jaimie McGovern, Barry Johnston, George McMullan,
Stephen Garrett, Diarmuid O’Carroll, Eamonn Seydak, Mark Smyth, Ryan Catney, Joe
Gormley, Liam Boyce. Subs: Ronan Scannell, Barry Holland, Martin Donnelly (on
for O’Carroll, 77 mins), Tomas Cosgrove (on for S.Garrett, 90 mins), James
Knowles (on for J.Gormley, 86 mins).
Referee: Alan Black.
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Weather for Portadown
Sunday 26 May 2013
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