GLENAVON 1 PORTADOWN 0
It’s another Boxing Day victory in the Mid-Ulster derby for Glenavon as Rhys Marshall’s header in the 92nd minute made it a happy Christmas for the Lurgan Blues.
However his goal sparked violent scenes, with fans from both sides scuffling at the Crescent End of Mourneview Park, with flares and missiles being thrown from both sides.
Glenavon had the ball in the net inside the first minute, but it was ruled out for offside following Andy Hall’s free kick.
Gary Twigg should have put the Ports in front after six minutes with a glancing header from Chris Casement’s free from the right of the penalty area, but it crept narrowly wide of Jonathan Tuffey’s far post.
David Miskelly was forced to save from Andy Kilmartin’s 20 yard shot after initially fumbling a cross into the box five minutes later.
On the half hour mark the visitors had the next chance via a Casement free kick, but all it did was warm Tuffey’s hands, while at the other end only the diving Miskelly’s knees stopped Rhys Marshall from breaking the deadlock.
Glenavon had two great opportunities to get in front after the restart, firstly when a ball from midfield picked out Daniel Kearns, only for his shot to be blocked by Ross Redman, then Eoin Bradley’s header from an Andy Kilmartin cross was picked out of the air by Miskelly.
The Ports defence had to clear Miskelly’s lines after the goalkeeper spilt a cross-come-shot from Hall, while at the other end a long throw by Darren Murray was flicked on into Tuffey’s hands by Chris Casement.
On 66 minutes the visitors were reduced to 10 men, Michael Gault sent off for a second yellow card after hauling down Eoin Bradley. Only four minutes earlier he had been booked for a meaty tackle on Kilmartin.
While all that was going on substitute Tim Mouncey was sent off after the linesman brought something to referee Ian McNabb’s attention.
With the man advantage, Glenavon pushed on for a winner and could have gone in front when Hall cut inside but scooped his shot from 25 yards over.
Then Mark McAllister missed a glorious chance with 10 minutes to go, putting a Redman cross over the bar with a free header from six yards.
There was another glorious chance at the other end five minutes later when a Kearns cross was blocked by Miskelly but Bradley put the ball over from close range, however, given the reaction time, the striker won’t have known much about it.
Then, drama in stoppage time. Gary Hamilton swung in a corner. Miskelly went down, Rhys Marshall lept up and headed in after 92 minutes.
Portadown tried to level from a corner kick but dramatically a Casement shot was cleared off the line by Simon Kelly.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Neill, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin,Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Sykes, Kearns. Subs: Lindsay, Patton (Hall 82), McGrory (Neill 61), O’Brien, Hamilton (Cooper 66).
Portadown: Miskelly, O’Hara, Redman, Casement, Breen, Mackle, Murray, Oman, Gault, Twigg, Garrett. Subs: Mouncey, Parker, Brennan, McAllister (Twigg 25), Stewart.