Glenavon Coach Brian McLoughlin sums up the game with the Lurgan Mail’s Gary Ellis.An injury time header from Rhys Marshall earned the three points in this hard-fought Mid-Ulster derby.
Portadown’s Gary Twigg had the best chance of an evenly balanced first half but he glanced a 6th minute header just wide from Chris Casement’s free kick. Twigg then apparently picked up an injury and was replaced after 25 minutes by Mark McAllister.
Casement’s 30th minute free kick was straight into the gloves of Jonathan Tuffey before his opposite number David Miskelly parried a shot from Marshall away from the danger area eight minutes later.
In the second half Glenavon got on top right from the restart and Daniel Kearns saw his shot partially blocked by Ross Redman with Miskelly dropping on the loose ball before Joel Cooper could pounce. Eoin Bradley couldn’t generate enough power on his header moments later when he connected with Andy Kilmartin’s dink into the Portadown box.
Just after the hour Casement drew a save from Tuffey with an overhead kick from a Darren Murray long throw. Marshall then skipped his way past a couple of the tackles in the Ports’ box but Miskelly did well to save his low cross-shot at his near post.
Michael Gault was sent off in the 66th minute after picking up his second yellow card in the space of 4 minutes. Unused substitute Tim Mouncey was also red carded in the same incident.
With ten minutes to go Mark McAllister could have put the visitors ahead when Redman raced down the left flank and picked out the striker with a pin-point cross but he put his header over the bar from 8 yards out.
Five minutes later Kearns fired a low cross into the near post which Miskelly parried only as far as Eoin Bradley but the Glenavon striker fired over from six yards.
Glenavon piled on the pressure and Kearns again forced Miskelly into a save at his near post.
With the game in stoppage time Simon Kelly got his head to Mark Sykes’ cross and the ball deflected out for a corner on the left. Gary Hamilton swung the ball to the back post where Rhys Marshall rose above the rest to nod the ball back into the net, sending the sell-out home crowd into raptures.
There was still time for Portadown to rescue a point as they threw everyone forward for a last-ditch corner with Kelly making a heroic block on the goal line to keep out Casement’ effort and with that referee Ian McNabb blew the final whistle.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Neill, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Sykes, Kearns subs Lindsay (not used), Patton (replaced Hall 82), McGrory (replaced Neill 61), O’Brien (not used), Hamilton (replaced Cooper 67)
Cautions: Hall 44, Kelly 90+5
Portadown: Miskelly, O’Hara, Redman, Casement, Breen, Mackle, Murray, Oman, Gault, Twigg, Garrett subs Brennan (not used), Mouncey (not used), Parker (not used), McAllister (replaced Twigg 25), Stewart (not used)
Cautions: Gault 62 & 67,Garrett 70, Breen 77, Mackle 90+4, Murray 90+4, McAllister 90+5
Referee: Ian McNabb