IRISH LEAGUE: Salley scores two as Portadown ease past PSNI

Portadown's Adam Salley. Pic by
Portadown's Adam Salley. Pic by

A first-half double by in-form Adam Salley and composed strike after the interval from Darren Henderson handed Portadown a convincing 3-0 success at Shamrock Park over PSNI.

Portadown’s work towards rebuilding for the future included two January additions in attendance for the final fixture of a troubled 2017 as goalkeeper Liam McAuley and defender Gregg Hall looked on from the stands.

They saw Portadown claim control over PSNI with an assured start that produced two goals inside the opening 16 minutes.

The free-scoring Ports played host to PSNI searching for a fourth successive victory having found the net 17 times in previous wins over Lurgan Celtic, Dergview and Loughgall around the festive period.

Salley increased his tally to six goals in seven appearances by bagging both goals - with Gary Warwick serving up a brace of assists.

The first, with 10 minutes on the clock, found the net off a decisive sidefoot shot at the back post by Salley to convert the clipped ball into the box from Warwick.

The Ports’ failure to clear the lines moments after breaking the deadlock handed PSNI a sight of goal as Johnny McClurg’s cross dropped in the danger area for Chris Watts but the striker’s shot proved the wrong side of the upright.

Portadown cemented the upper hand when Fra Brennan’s angled ball from wide on the left found Warwick at the far post and his cutback was steered inside the post with a clever Salley finish.

Henderson and Salley came close with close-range headers in quick succession then PSNI goalkeeper Jordan Williamson raced off his line to divert a Chris Lavery effort wide of his target as Portadown increased the pressure.

Lavery had Portadown’s first chance of the second half, however his header off a Warwick cross lacked direction.

Henderson tested Williamson with a drilled free-kick from outside the area but the PSNI goalkeeper managed to gather the drive.

Brennan stepped in to limit the PSNI threat after Paul McDowell and Watts combined but the game’s next goal went to the home side.

Portadown’s combination play cut open the visitors’ backline and Henderson moved wide of Williamson before squeezing his shot home from a tight angle.

Ashton McDermott’s error allowed Salley to pick up a loose ball with time and space but the attempted lob was collected by the back-tracking Williamson.

Portadown goalkeeper Chris McGaughey then had to prove alert with a near-post save to block a Joe McWilliams shot.

Salley was prevented from securing his hat-trick in the closing moments with a point-blank Williamson stop.

PORTADOWN: McGaughey, N.Henderson, Brennan, McVey, McCallum, McCullough (Holmes, 68), Kilmartin, Warwick (L.Wilson, 68), D.Henderson (Duffin, 78), Salley, Lavery.

Subs (not used): Neill, Larkin.

PSNI: Williamson, Moody, Riddle (Campbell, 68), McDermott, Simpson, McClurg, McWilliams, Berry, Watts, McDowell (Martyn, 79), Anderson (Adamczyk, 68).

Subs (not used): Khan, Kirk.