PAST PORTS: The day Stanley Matthews played at Shamrock Park

Shamrock Park
Shamrock Park

Portadown club historian Trevor Clydesdale takes a look into the Shamrock Park archives:

“Some big-name players have graced Shamrock Park - with the great (and future ‘Sir’) Stanley Matthews on show with Blackpool in August 1961.

“Everyone wanted to see the maestro but it was a Lurgan lad who stole the show, with the headlines proclaiming “Game With Blackpool Produces Star in McNally”. “The fans remarked that a new star had been born after watching the display of goalkeeper Errol McNally. Indeed, such was the impact made by the youngster that he was soon snapped up by Chelsea.

“Portadown played well and the 2-0 result flattered Blackpool - aided by a controversial goal where, despite the raised flag from the linesman for offside, the referee permitted their first to stand.

“Matthews had only returned from Canada the previous evening and was suffering an ankle injury. Limited to very few touches, when he did gain possession he was quick to pass.

“To the great disappointment of those that had turned up to see him, Matthews left the field after just 15 minutes.

“On the other hand, former Leeds United midfielder Billy Cush showed the visitors that he was far from finished, with some excellent football.

“Ports keeper Sam Kydd did nothing wrong with his first-half play, but young McNally was given a chance to show what he was capable of in the second half.

“He put on a display that had the fans in raptures, so much so that there were calls for him to be given the regular starting position.

“McNally played just nine games for Chelsea but lined out with greats such as Ron Harris, Eddie McCreadie and Terry Venables.

“He returned a couple of seasons later, joining Glenavon.”

The Portadown line-up against Blackpool: Kydd (McNally), Megarry, Campbell, Cush, Chambers, Galbraith, Gillespie, Robinson, Gorman, McMillan, Callan.