Portadown moved one step closer to the drop with a 3-0 reverse by Ards on an afternoon that featured a red card and penalty miss for the basement-based hosts.
Four frantic first-half minutes proved decisive as Portadown suffered the loss of Ken Oman to a red card then Niall Henderson’s penalty was saved by Ards goalkeeper Aaron Hogg.
Both sides went into the Danske Bank Premiership game in search of a first victory of the 2017 league programme.
Ards, aiming to recover from the previous week’s 4-0 defeat by Carrick Rangers, attacked from the start and a David McAllister shot somehow found a way under the body of Jack Duffin before the Ports goalkeeper recovered to stop on the line.
Portadown produced one promising opening as Robert Garrett, Adam Foley and Brendan Shannon linked up but Shea McGerrigan failed to connect to the final delivery.
Kyle Cherry had two sights of goal before breaking the deadlock on 22 minutes with a close-range finish after Michael Ruddy’s delivery from the left wing created problems in the home penalty area.
Then Oman was issued a straight red card by referee Shane Andrews following his tackle on Johnny Taylor around the halfway line.
Hope arrived moments later when Hogg was adjudged to have fouled Tiarnan Mulvenna during a challenge to clear Matthew Hazley’s free-kick delivery.
Henderson stepped up but Hogg was alert to push away the penalty with a save to his right.
The second half sparked into life on 58 minutes when Giullaume Keke raced ahead of Garry Breen but Duffin raced out to block, with Ross Arthurs picking up the loose ball but his shot was headed off the line by the recovering Keith O’Hara.
Arthurs, however, got his name on the scoresheet on 64 minutes with a simple back-post finish following another display of power and pace from Keke to attack the box and deliver from the right.
Substitute Matthew Shevlin added to the Portadown problems by joining play on 90 minutes and drilling in a low angled shot with effectively the final kick of the afternoon.
PORTADOWN: Jack Duffin, Brendan Shannon, Keith O’Hara, Ken Oman, Garry Breen, Niall Henderson, Robert Garrett, Matthew Hazley, Shea McGerrigan, Adam Foley, Tiarnan Mulvenna. Subs: Chris McGaughey, Ross Larkin, Mark Carson (Shannon, 53), Shane Dolan (Foley, 64), Jaime Gardiner (McGerrigan, 71).
ARDS: Aaron Hogg, Gregg Hall, Johnny Taylor, Josh Doherty, Emmett Friars, Michael Ruddy, Gareth Tommons, Ross Arthurs, Kyle Cherry, David McAllister, Giullaume Keke. Subs: Carl McComb, David McCullough (Doherty, 81), Kevin Bradley, Matthew Shevlin (Keke, 90), Jordan Hughes (Arthurs, 88).
Referee: Shane Andrews.