CHAMPIONSHIP: Derby delight as Portadown defeat Loughgall to get back on track

Portadown manager Niall Currie.
Portadown manager Niall Currie.

Portadown managed to stop the rot after four consecutive Bluefin Sport Championship defeats with derby delight in a 3-0 defeat of Loughgall.

Peter Campbell and Jamie Douglas each looked sharp across the opening stages as Loughgall pushed to increase the pressure on Portadown.

However, Kevin Amuneke tested Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan with a long-range snapshot and the next scoring opportunity of note broke the deadlock.

Kyle Neill’s wind-assisted corner-kick dropped over the reach of the back-tracking Buchanan to hand Portadown a fortuitous opening goal,

Having gained a welcome lead, Portadown secured a second reward for a positive first-half performance on 35 minutes.

Gary Warwick raced in from the left and took advantage of space to release a shot. The attempt bounced back off the upright and teenager Luke Wilson, in support from midfield, was on hand to force home the loose ball.

Stefan Lavery then attacked at pace but, under pressure from Paul Stretton, blasted over the bar - with Campbell’s speculative cross bouncing off the face of the Portadown frame.

Portadown had a penalty appeal waved away late in the half but entered the break in a commanding position.

That level of control increased inside the opening two minutes of the second half as Chris Lavery’s cross was guided in with a close-range Amuneke finish.

Amuneke almost doubled his personal tally moments later but headed wide off a dangerous Stefan Lavery cross.

A sliding Dale Montgomery block then diverted over Amuneke’s close-range drive after Stefan Lavery’s looping ball created problems, with Neill attacking the initial delivery.

Substitute Andrew Hoey hit the post in the final seconds as Loughgall left with little to cheer.

Portadown worked hard to protect the three-goal cushion and the final whistle signalled a sense of relief inside Shamrock Park at a result which manager Niall Currie will be hoping can spark a run of bright form.

PORTADOWN: Connolly, Brennan, Neill, McVey (Larkin, 83), McCallum, Kilmartin, Wilson, Warwick, C.Lavery (Duffin, 71), Amuneke, S.Lavery (Salley, 83).

Subs (not used): Hazley, Carson.

LOUGHGALL: Buchanan, Montgomery, Stretton (Rea, 49), Crooks, Copeland, McConnell, Douglas, McMaster, Mullen (Taylor, 58), Ferguson, P.Campbell (Hoey, 58).

Subs (not used): J.Campbell, Stewart.

Referee: K.Gibbons.