Casement’s warning as Ports get set for cup test

Chris Casement and team-mates celebrates Portadown's equaliser. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Chris Casement and team-mates celebrates Portadown's equaliser. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Chris Casement has described Portadown’s Irish Cup quarter-final tie against Linfield as “a defining moment”.

Casement can look back on a string of Irish Cup memories from his trophy-winning days in Linfield blue.

However, the right-back has made his mark for the Ports this season in the domestic game’s premier knockout competition - most notably a free-kick finish to see off PSNI.

Casement’s set-piece strength also helped Portadown on Friday night as Portadown recorded a first league win at Windsor Park since 2002.

His free-kick into the danger area led to an own goal and left the Ports level before Sean Mackle’s late strike sealed a result that helped to strengthen the side’s European bid.

It handed Casement a welcome return to the Portadown starting line-up after sustaining medial ligament damage against Ballymena United. Now the former Ipswich Town defender is hoping to build on his successful comeback with another key contribution during the second half of the back-to-back tests with Linfield.

“My first focus has to be on defending but am always happy to help the team out with set-pieces,” said Casement. “Last week I just spotted a gap in the box and wanted to send it into that space hoping for something to happen.

“It was a great team performance by everyone but now we must move on and not let that result change our mindset for Saturday.

“It is going to be a very different game, with Linfield fired up for revenge and, of course, a big one-off reward for either side.

“It will be a defining moment in our season as we have struggled for consistency in the league but to reach the Irish Cup semi-finals would be a great achievement for the club.”

Casement has high praise for his replacement at right-back during time out on the road to recovery.

“Jake Richardson came in and did a great job,” said Casement. “It is great to see so many young lads from last year’s Harry Cavan Youth Challenge Cup winners getting a chance at first-team level this season.

“It should be a great tie and I am sure the fans will make it a great atmosphere.”