Problems extend beyond red card and injury in derby blues

Ken Oman signals to the sidelines for help following injury to Ports goalkeeper David Miskelly on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Ken Oman signals to the sidelines for help following injury to Ports goalkeeper David Miskelly on Saturday. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Events outside Portadown’s control may have had an impact in the derby defeat last weekend but the harsh truth remains that the culmination of multiple failings by the visitors played the main role in the final result.

A freak injury which left goalkeeper David Miskelly unconscious for a short spell in Lurgan proved disruptive during Portadown’s most positive spell against Glenavon.

Chris Casement had closed the gap to 2-1 following a strong start to the second half when Miskelly was replaced by young Martin Marron, with the former Youth Cup-winning goalkeeper unable to hold on to Kevin Braniff’s initial shot and the hosts moving clear by 3-1.

A red card for Robert Garrett proved of greater significance and Marron deserves credit for recovering from his initial error to prevent Glenavon from increasing the gap on a number of occasions before a late fourth.

Marron could also question the lack of support from his senior colleagues as Glenavon proved first to react to the rebound, with Bradley finding the net.

It proved a similar pattern overall as Glenavon produced a team performance against the individual displays from the Ports.

Braniff’s curling free-kick and a close-range Bradley finish following patient passing without any significant pressure rewarded Glenavon across an abject first-half Ports display.

Casement had one shot saved before getting on the scoresheet but hopes of an unexpected equaliser were cut short by Bradley’s second before a late Andy Kilmartin finish.

Marron will gain extra senior experience this weekend against Carrick Rangers if Miskelly is ruled out due to the head injury.

Although he can only benefit from any first-team playing time at this stage of his career, Marron will suffer alongside teenage striker Marcio Soares as young players inserted into a senior squad that appears currently devoid of direction.

The diminishing returns on show on the pitch have had a negative impact on crowd figures judging by the low numbers on view for recent high-profile fixtures against Linfield and Glenavon.

A slump in league form has left Portadown falling short in the fight for a top-six Danske Bank Premiership finish.

Although the Irish Cup remains a sole shining light in the gloom, the risk is counting on a team so short of confidence to salvage the season by producing on knockout occasions when league levels prove so demoralising.

Ultimately, Portadown’s moments of optimism last weekend proved fleeting in the face of the hosts’ collective threat.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Chris Ramsey, Garry Breen, Mark McAllister, Ken Oman, Michael Gault, Philip Lowry, Robert Garrett, Marcio Soares. Subs: Martin Marron (on for Miskelly, 53 mins), Tim Mouncey, Matthew Parker, Sean Mackle (on for Ramsey, 77 mins), Mikey Withers (on for Soares, 80 mins).