Kirkland plays key role as men pick up full points against Newry

Stewart Kirkland. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Stewart Kirkland. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Stewart Kirkland enjoyed a key spell in the spotlight with crucial contributions as Portadown men’s firsts picked up a well-earned weekend win.

Kirkland produced a vital last-gasp tackle to protect Portadown’s 2-1 advantage over Newry before grabbing the decisive third goal in a 3-2 victory.

The Premier League boost arrived with Zach McClelland and Neil Gilmore handing Portadown a two-goal lead.

Adam Stevenson found McClelland and a superb second touch - as, when the ball popped up in the air, he deflected an effort beyond the Newry keeper into the top corner.

Both sides picked up cards during a period of disruption and indiscipline before Gilmore doubled the Portadown lead.

It was 2-1, however, entering the interval and Newry attacked after the break in pursuit of an equaliser.

Additional cards offered Newry an on-pitch numerical advantage but Portadown worked hard under the guidance of Johnny Brown to retain the upper hand.

Kirkland’s tackle added to the frustration for Newry and he then converted a short-corner routine to push Portadown into a 3-1 lead.

Newry cut the gap with almost 40 minutes on the clock before the final whistle pushed Portadown up to third in the standings.

Firsts v South Antrim (Saturday, home, 1 o’clock start): J.Knipe, G.Titler, S.Bell, R.Scott, A.Stevenson, S.Kirkland, J.Brown, Z.McClelland, S.Johnston, M.Bennett, G.Croft, J.Curran, M.Winter, G.Morrison, N.Gilmore.

Seconds v Mossley (Saturday, home, 4 o’clock start): Players to be confirmed.

Thirds v Harlequins (Friday, home, 7.30 start): Players to be confirmed.

LADIES

Portadown ladies’ firsts’ Premier League season featured a 5-0 reverse on the road at Queen’s.

The ladies’ seconds picked up a point at Randalstown in a 1-1 draw.