Kick-off was delayed until 3:10pm due to the long queues at the turnstiles.

Photo by Alan Weir

Early bookings for Joel Cooper (2 mins) and Ciaran Martyn (4 mins).

Mark Patton has replaced Cooper in the 15th minute. Speaking to us after the match Gary Hamilton confirmed that, Cooper having committed another foul just after he was booked for a shirt pull, and the Glenavon bench having been warned by the 4th Official that he was on the verge of a second yellow, the coaching staff decided to replace him as a precaution.

Caolan Marron and Stephen Hughes battle for possession. Photo by Maynard Collins

In the 19th minute Alan Byrne was adjudged to have brought down Greg Moorhouse 22 yards out. Patton’s free kick deflected off the wall for a corner from which Moorhouse slipped but the ball broke to Mark Sykes who saw his shot deflected by Garrett for another corner which Portadown cleared.

Former Glenavon player Mark Carson put Portadown ahead in the 25th minute after he just got to a fabulous pass from Mark McAllister before Jonny Tuffey and tucked the ball just inside the post.

Guy Bates has had Glenavon’s best chances, glancing a cross from Rhys Marshall straight at McGaughey. The young Ports keeper made a much better save in the 34th minute when Bates picked up a ball into the box only to see McGaughey get down well at his near post.

Guy Bates curls and effort with his left boot. Photo by Maynard Collins

A minute before Brendan Shannon had dallied on the ball on his own byeline and Bates was able to block his attempted clearance. The ball spun to Moorhouse whose shot from a tight angle deflected across the goal mouth. Patton attempted to put it back across the goal but a defender blocked it for a corner.

Bates and Patton curled efforts but once again the ball went straight into the  keeper’s gloves.

Guy Bates shields the ball from Gary Breen. Photo by Alan Weir

Not the start to the second half Glenavon was hoping for as Aaron Haire ran onto a through ball from Stephen Hughes five minutes after the interval, held off Caolan Marron before slotting the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Ports substitute Nathaniel Ferris had a decent chance to make it 3-0 to the home side with his first touch but he poked the ball wide when well placed.

Glenavon had the ball in the net in the 76th minute but it was flagged for offside against Bates who had been found on the left by Sykes before crossing to the far post but a minute later Martyn headed in powerfully from an Andy McGrory cross to reduce the arrears.

Ciaran Martyn celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1. Photo by Alan Weir

McAllister spurned a good chance to restore the Ports two-goal cushion moments after Martyn’s goal but he fired wide from 8 yards.

Late, late drama as a Mark Sykes free kick from at least 25 yards found its way all the way to the net to send the visiting fans into raptures. There was still time for a Brendan Shannon free kick to rebound off the wall and release a Glenavon counter attack with four against two and Kevin Braniff’s effort across goal was flicked back in by Bates but the Reds were able to scramble the ball clear and Referee Crangle blew the final whistle.

Ports keeper Chris McGaughey dives in vain as Mark Sykes equaliser hits the back of the net. Photo by Alan Weir

Photo by Alan Weir


Portadown: McGaughey, Carson, Byrne, Breen, Parker, Henderson, Shannon, Garrett (c), McAllister, Haire, Hughes. Subs: C Larkin (GK), R Larkin, Wilson, N Ferris (Haire 75), C Ferris

Glenavon: Tuffey (c), Marshall, Marron, Elebert, Singleton, Hall, Martyn, Sykes, Cooper, Moorhouse, Bates. Subs: Neill, Kelly, Patton (Cooper 15), McGrory (Hall 77), Braniff (Moorhouse 63)

Referee: Raymond Crangle