Growing gains the goal for Portadown’s Lee Bonis
Lee Bonis delivered derby delight for the second time this season on Saturday to bookend his first six months of senior Irish League football with welcome wins over Glenavon.
The 21-year-old boyhood Ports fan is now leading the line for his hometown club and played a central role in Mid-Ulster derby success on Glenavon’s first return to Shamrock Park since 2017.
Having grabbed a goal back in October when Bonis and his newly-promoted team-mates celebrated in style a return to the senior stage with victory in Lurgan, he kicked off Saturday’s scoring then capped his afternoon with an assist for Ben Guy.
The Portadown march to victory also included Sam Warde’s penalty kick following a Lee McNulty handball which left Glenavon reduced to 10 men, plus a low drive off substitute Chris Lavery.
Sean Ward’s spectacular angled drive into the top corner offered little consolation to the visitors in the 4-1 scoreline.
“As a Portadown fan as well as a player it’s great to get a goal and help the team to the win,” said Bonis. “It’s brilliant to get the three points and a derby is always one of those you want to win each season.
“It means a lot, I got one goal and maybe should have had more.
“Derby games are always the fixtures everyone wants to see, we got the result in the first one of the season then Boxing Day unfortunately didn’t happen but we got another win today and are delighted.
“Personally, I think we have been doing a lot of the right things for the club’s first season back up, we go in wanting to win every game of course so want a few more before the end of the campaign and think we are good enough.
“A lot of draws or defeats have been tight and come down to small details but it’s about working hard and trusting our quality.
“We played well and I think today’s performance was far better than the first derby back in October.
“We had to defend much more then, with our strength the counter-attack.
“Today we didn’t give Glenavon any time on the ball and our passing and movement was really good.”
Bonis’ manager, Matthew Tipton, was glowing in his post-match praise for the young forward’s decision to pick out the supporting Guy as Portadown cruised into a 3-0 lead.
Having had two previous sights of goal with unmarked team-mates offering options inside the area during Portadown’s energetic start to the second half, Bonis capped a flowing counter-attack by slipping in Guy to cement the hosts’ control.
Bonis’ pathway into the Portadown senior side featured early progress on the youth books before gaining first-team experience across the Mid-Ulster Football League ahead of a return to aid the club’s Championship title bid.
His first season of Premiership football has handed Bonis individual battles against the Irish League’s finest defenders.
“I’m delighted to be at this club and at this top level, so I’m learning a lot off the manager and coaching staff,” he said. “You learn also from coming up against so many experienced players and that helps your development.
“Also, you learn from your mistakes as well as off those individual challenges and it certainly all makes you a better player.
“You come off the pitch knackered but you’ve got to put in that hard work.
“I’ve played up as a lone striker or, like today, in a two.
“For my goal, I had seen from a previous corner the opportunity was maybe there and it paid off the second time off Sam Warde’s great delivery.
“Luke Wilson almost got in the way...but I was able to jump over the top.
“As a striker you want to score as many as you can, so if I feel the opportunity is there to shoot I will take it.
“But it’s not about being selfish and Ben was in a better position to help us towards the three points.
“It was nice to get the reward off such a well-worked team goal.”
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