Oman off the mark as Judge nets derby brace

Nedas Maciulaitis, Jamie Haughey and Zac Wilson. Pic by David Maginnis.
Nedas Maciulaitis, Jamie Haughey and Zac Wilson. Pic by David Maginnis.

On a night 32-year-old Ken Oman marked his Portadown debut with a goal, the main focus centred on another opportunity for the Shamrock Park next generation to step forward.

A return this season to the Mid-Ulster Cup has helped with suspensions but, of greater importance to the long-term viewpoint, provided young players with opportunities for first-team experience.

A quarter-final stage against NIFL Championship One-based Loughgall was used by manager Ronnie McFall to promote three members of Portadown Youth under 16s into the senior environment. Zac Wilson and Nedas Maciulaitis gained minutes on the pitch, with Jamie Haughey also a substitute.

James Begley - recommended to the club by former midfielder Michael Collins - proved energetic in the final third, plus full-backs John Gibson and Christian Stewart used the tie for further development. Jordan Lyttle and Paul McElroy, established this season in the senior squad, enjoyed positive performances - with Billy Brennan alert off his line on a number of occasions to frustrate the Villagers.

Oman completed his switch to the Ports last Thursday night and used the midweek tie to help regain match sharpness following a previous competitive fixture in the closing months of 2014.

He added a key contribution by breaking the deadlock with an emphatic header off McElroy’s corner-kick delivery.

However, the central figure on the night proved 18-year-old Pauddy Judge. The midfielder capped a convincing overall display with two goals in quick succession.

The first was a long-range drive into the bottom corner before popping up to slot home from inside the penalty area.

Loughgall’s goal arrived off a Warner Mullen header from Mark Carson’s cross.

PORTADOWN: Billy Brennan, John Gibson, Christian Stewart, Jordan Lyttle, Chris Ramsey, Pauddy Judge, James Begley, Sean Mackle, Marcio Soares, Ken Oman, Paul McElroy. Subs: Zac Wilson (on for Mackle, 87 mins), Jamie Haughey, Chris Ferguson (on for McElroy, 81 mins), Mark Whitten, Nedas Maciulaitis (on for Soares, 60 mins).