Matthew Tipton secured a first success as Portadown manager in his second game during an entertaining derby defeat of Loughgall by 2-1.
Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan proved resolute during the hosts’ bright start - including one smart low save to deny Chris Lavery.
Loughgall also attacked within a free-flowing first half and successive blocks arrived from Ross Larkin and Gregg Hall following pressure thanks to Nathaniel Ferris, Marc McConnell and Steven Ferguson.
Ferris started his Irish League career in Portadown colours and was presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on his return to Shamrock Park when the young striker’s pace provided time and space but the shot drifted wide of the target.
Portadown’s reward for the high-tempo approach arrived inside the opening half-hour period as Lavery capped a fine move with an acrobatic finish. Luke Wilson picked out Jamie Douglas and his pass released Craig McMillen on the left, with the teasing cross converted in style.
Buchanan was on hand to deny Lavery a second goal inside the opening moments of the second half but Loughgall’s confidence increased as play progressed.
It led to an equaliser on 54 minutes thanks to Dale Montgomery’s spectacular drive from distance that nestled in the net via the upright.
Portadown managed to regain control on 69 minutes off Lavery’s free-kick delivery and a glancing header by Adam McCallum.
Lavery came close to a second but fired wide unmarked at the back post - however, his goal and assist ultimately proved decisive.
PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Brennan, Hall, McCallum, Larkin, Kilmartin, C.Lavery, Wilson, Salley (Carmichael, 92), Douglas (George, 79), McMillen (S.Lavery, 70).
Subs: McKenna, McCullough.
LOUGHGALL: Buchanan, Montgomery (Neill, 84), Ballard, Copeland, Stewart, Dallas, McConnell (Mullen, 59), Ferguson, Liggett, Ferris, Campbell (Rea, 76).
Subs (not used): Robinson, Stretton.
Referee: Jamie Robinson.