‘TIMES’ WEB REPORT Windsor Park wonder as Ports grab memorable win

Sean Mackle at the head of the Portadown players following his winning goal at Windsor Park against Linfield. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Sean Mackle at the head of the Portadown players following his winning goal at Windsor Park against Linfield. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Sean Mackle’s late, late strike sealed a first league win for Portadown against Linfield at Windsor Park since December 2002.

The midfielder found the energy to race clear of the Linfield backline on 88 minutes, slot home the decisive goal - and then sprint the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the away fans.

It was a moment to relish on and off the pitch as Portadown picked up a memorable win without a recognised striker on the pitch, scoring two goals to recover from Linfield’s early opening effort and record a 2-1 victory.

Suspension ruled out both Darren Murray and Gary Twigg, with Mark McAllister on the sidelines due to hamstring trouble.

The Ports opted to field Peter McMahon as a solo striker, with support arriving from a five-man midfield.

In the fight for points between second and third in the Danske Bank Premiership standings, Linfield gained the initial advantage when, on 12 minutes, player/manager Warren Feeney steered in a Michael Carvill cross from the right.

Mackle was at the heart of the visitors’ response when he battled to keep possession inside the box and feed the ball into the path of McMahon’s run. However, the makeshift striker lacked the finishing touch and his sidefoot shot drifted wide.

Andy Waterworth hit the crossbar following good work by Jamie Mulgrew as Linfield attempted to increase the advantage.

Portadown produced some measured build-up play but, understandably, lacked a cutting edge in attack.

The final shot of the first half came from former Linfield captain Michael Gault when he connected with McMahon’s clever backheel pass but a sliding block diverted the danger.

Linfield had the upper hand over the early second-half exchanges but failed to make the most of a glorious opportunity when referee Raymond Heterington awarded a penalty kick following Tim Mouncey’s handball.

David Miskelly stayed strong to push away the spot-kick strike down the middle by former team-mate Aaron Burns for what proved a major moment in the story of the game.

Portadown’s confidence increased as play progressed and the equaliser arrived courtesy of a free-kick delivery by Chris Casement on his return to the side from injury.

His free-kick delivery caused problems for Linfield and Jimmy Callacher’s touch eventually took the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Portadown pushed on and a Shea Conaty attempt bounced off the crossbar.

The final twist arrived in the closing moments when clever build-up along the left ended with Conaty releasing Mackle and the midfielder displayed impressive compsure to find the net and seal the points.

LINFIELD: Ross Glendinning, Glen Belezika, Jimmy Callacher, Andy Waterworth, Michael Carvill, Aaron Burns, Sean Ward, Grant McCann, Jamie Mulgrew, Warren Feeney, Niall Quinn. Subs: Johnny Tuffey, Stephen Lowry (on for Mulgrew, 77 mins), Kirk Millar, Sammy Morrow (on for Feeney, 73 mins), Reece Glendinning (on for Belezika, 39 mins).

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Keith O’Hara, Chris Ramsey, Peter McMahon, Sean Mackle, Tim Mouncey, Michael Gault, Shea Conaty, Robert Garrett. Subs: Billy Brennan, Marcio Soares, Ken Oman (on for O’Hara, 83 mins), Paul McElroy, Jake Richardson.

Referee: Raymond Hetherington.