Gault adds the perfect finishing touch to vintage midfield display

Michael Gault celebrates his late strike at Shamrock Park on Monday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Michael Gault celebrates his late strike at Shamrock Park on Monday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown’s capture of Michael Gault in the summer left fans thrilled at the prospect a midfielder synonymous with Irish League success capable of providing the added drive and desire so often absent from previous squads.

Gault’s recovery from a close-season operation forced a patient approach as he worked back towards prime condition.

However, his performance on Monday already suggested a return to the form that attracted such sustained praise during his Linfield glory days. Then the clock hit 90 minutes and Gault cemented the display as a vintage performance with a match-winning strike that provided the Ports’ title ambitions with the boost anticipated by his capture.

Gault considered it his best in Portadown colours during the post-match talk as his last-gasp goal was the perfect reward at a time when the hosts appeared on course for another night of frustration.

Institute’s spirited defensive resolve blocked the Ports’ path to goal at 1-1 before Gault made his mark in memorable fashion with an angled long-range strike.

Gault was also involved in the opening goal when, inside two minutes, he flicked on Darren Murray’s throw-in and the loose ball was eventually steered home on the run by Sean Mackle.

Institute levelled inside the early stages of the second half thanks to Aaron Walsh’s free-kick that Stephen Curry smashed in from distance.

David Miskelly stepped up with a superb save at 1-1 to stop Matty Young and keep the match alive.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Chris Ramsey, Garry Breen, Peter McMahon, Sean Mackle, Darren Murray, Mark McAllister, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett. Subs: Billy Brennan, Tim Mouncey (on for Mackle, 85 mins), Paul McElroy (on for McMahon, 67 mins), Gary Twigg (on for Murray, 65 mins), Shea Conaty.