Twigg’s perfect debut the highlight on drab afternoon
GARY Twigg matched the months of hype between his pre-contract agreement and today’s competitive debut for Portadown by grabbing the only goal to see off Donegal Celtic.
The former Shamrock Rovers forward popped up on 49 minutes to convert essentially his only chance of a drab afternoon at Shamrock Park against struggling Donegal Celtic.
It was a rare moment of class in the middle of a Danske Bank Premiership fixture which featured little to cheer.
Twigg found space to meet a cross by the impressive Chris Casement and head home his first official goal for the Ports on 49 minutes.
The striker spent much of the afternoon surrounded by two Donegal Celtic defenders and Portadown lacked creativity in difficult conditions – both in terms of the weather and the impact that heavy rain had on the pitch.
Ross Redman, fresh from winning the league’s ‘Player of the Month’ award, tested the visitors from set-piece scenarios.
On two occasions he found Brian Gartland – with the defender heading over early on before attempting to direct another delivery into Twigg’s path.
John Connolly was on hand to make a comfortable save from Kevin Braniff’s curling free-kick as scoring opportunities proved few and far between.
Ryan Burns was operating from a central position in midfield and looked both strong and sharp towards the end of the first half to retain possession under pressure from two rivals before firing a low shot narrowly past the post.
The Celtic threat was limited to a Ryan Deans header over the target before Ciaran Gargan raced into the box but Chris Ramsey’s perfect sliding block at the second attempt cut short the danger.
The game’s main talking point arrived on 49 minutes as Casement attacked along the right, combined with Sean Mackle to get in behind the visitors’ defence then delivered a cross for Twigg to convert.
Tim Mouncey proved his value at both ends by forcing Connolly into a point-blank save from Redman’s corner-kick before bringing to a halt Paul McVeigh’s attack inside the home penalty area.
Portadown tested Connolly from distance before the final whistle but the game’s decisive moment had arrived thanks to Twigg’s penalty-box instincts.
PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Sean Mackle, Ross Redman, Chris Ramsey, Kevin Braniff, Tim Mouncey, Ryan Burns, Joe McNeill, Chris Casement, Gary Twigg, Brian Gartland. Subs: Jamie McArdle, Mark Patton, Richard Lecky (on for R.Burns, 73 mins), Andrew Burns, Ciaran Rooney.
DONEGAL CELTIC: John Connolly, Pat McShane, Paul Bradley, Ciaran Burns, Ryan Deans, Kevin Keegan, Paul McAreavey, Paul McVeigh, Ciaran Gargan, Mark Burns, Conor Downey. Subs: Eamon Hughes, Pearse Devine (on for P.McAreavey, 46 mins), Mark Miskimmin (on for R.Deans, 55 mins), Joe Todd, David McAllister.
Referee: Hugh Carvill.
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Weather for Portadown
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North west