PAST PORTS: A look into the club archives

Shamrock Park
Shamrock Park

When it comes to prolific strikers Portadown have had their fair share throughout their history.

Most fans can recall names such as Cowan, Fraser, Arkins, Haylock, Malone, Gorman, Ross, and Walker. One name that rarely gets mentioned however is Benny Gaughran a pre-war forward with Celtic, Southampton and Sunderland.

Gaughran joined the Ports in Feb 1940, the last season before the Irish League closed down due to the conflict engulfing the world. In the last thirteen games of the 1939-40 season Benny scored 17 goals including five in a 7-2 defeat of Larne.

The following season he was joined by Davy Cochrane, the son of former Linfield and Portadown winger John Cochrane. The partnership was to prove to be sensational in the first season of the wartime Northern Regional League. The pair bagged a total of 72 goals between with Gaughran claiming another five haul, this time in an 8-0 mauling of Cliftonville.

There were hat-tricks a plenty with four for Gaughran and two for Cochrane with both men claiming a hat-trick each in same match on two occasion. The first occasion was in an amazing 11-6 Gold Cup win against Clitfonville and the second an 8-0 Regional League defeat of Glenavon.

Portadown scored 92 goals in 27 league games, just losing out on the title to Belfast Celtic. A further 33 goals were scored in 14 Gold Cup matches and 7 in two Irish Cup games. A grand total of 132 goals in 43 games.

It was a season of high scoring games with Cliftonville in particular being put to the sword. In six games with the Belfast Reds, Portadown hit a phenomenal 35 goals including 14 for Gaughran and 8 for Cochrane.

Other high scoring games included a 6-5 and 4-3 wins against Glentoran, 6-2 and 5-2 wins versus Derry City, a 4-3 victory over Linfield and a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Belfast Blues and a 7-4 loss at The Oval against Glentoran and two 6-0 defeats by Belfast Celtic.

The Shamrock Park patrons would love to see such exciting matches this season but unfortunately for the fans back in 1940-41 this was to be the Ports last season in senior football until the end of the war. Before the season drew to a close Portadown pulled of a real coup when they signed England International goalkeeper Ted Sagar.

He played three games for Portadown and also represented the Northern Regional League.