Portadown: Championship promotion pain as Tiarnan McNicholl seals points for Dundela

Tiarnan McNicholl. Pic by Pacemaker.
Tiarnan McNicholl. Pic by Pacemaker.

Portadown’s promotion push suffered a second successive setback as Tiarnan McNicholl bagged a brace to push Dundela into third.

Having lost a two-goal lead to second-placed Carrick Rangers in the previous Bluefin Sport Championship outing, the Ports hit the road aiming to cement third at the expense of Dundela.

However, McNicholl found the net with two composed second-half strikes to cap defensive indecision by the visitors in a 2-0 victory that puts Dundela level on points with Portadown entering the final four fixtures.

McNicholl was on hand just before the hour mark to take advantage of slack defensive work and find the net via the inside of the post.

His second arrived to effectively wrap up victory when Portadown failed to focus and a throw-in dropped for the striker to slot home.

Chris Lavery hit the Dundela post in the closing minutes and substitute Ryan Carmichael could only turn the ball beyond the target with an instinctive effort off the rebound.

Dundela proved comfortable overall despite a bright display before the break from Portadown.

Adam Salley came close to kicking off the scoring when Martin Bradley showed strength and skill to win possession on the edge of the box and he opted to pass to the former but the Ports forward’s shot was blocked by a recovering Dundela defence.

A clever lofted pass by the impressive Bradley then released Lavery but Jonathan Sergeant raced out to save the shot.

Another well-worked move led to Lavery picking out Liam McKenna’s run along the left but a sliding Aaron Duke was unable to divert home the resultant low cross.

Declan Dunne pulled off one smart stop to deny Carl McComb in the first half and was on hand with a double save after the interval to initially frustrate the Dundela forward for a second time then Karl Devine.

However, Dundela had cause for celebration at the final whistle with a well-earned win.

DUNDELA: Sergeant, King, Brown, Devine, Morrison, Murdock, McMaster, Beggs, McComb, McNicholl, Burns.

Subs: Bingham, Sterling, Hanley, Murray, Magee.

PORTADOWN: Dunne, Neill, Finnegan, Larkin, Lavery, Salley, Duke, Hall, Bradley, Wilson, McKenna.

Subs: McCallum, Braniff, Carmichael, Mackle, Ferris.

Referee: Diarmuid Harrigan.