Portadown 1-1 Glenavon
Danske Bank Premiership
Shamrock Park, Friday 30th September 2022
Match report by Calum Jones
Glenavon had to settle for a draw at Shamrock Park on Friday evening as Portadown secured their first point of the season in a game that ended 1-1.
Former Glenavon striker Jordan Jenkins saw his penalty saved by Rory Brown in the opening minutes of the match, but the home side did get their noses in front three minutes before the break thanks to a smart finish from Oisin Conaty.
Captain Mark Haughey equalised for the Lurgan Blues seven minutes into the second half, and although both sides had opportunities to score later in the game, in the end they had to settle for a point apiece.
Portadown were presented with a glorious opportunity to open the scoring just four minutes into the game when referee Christopher Morrison pointed to the spot, penalising Haughey for a handball following a Billy Stedman free kick. Former Lurgan Blue Jenkins stepped up to take the spot kick, but his effort was tame, and Brown dived to his right to make a comfortable save.
On 15 minutes Sean Ward whipped over a dangerous cross from the right. Isaac Baird managed to get his head to the ball, but he couldn’t make a clean enough contact to direct his effort on target.
Ten minutes after that Matthew Fitzpatrick fed the ball out to Micheal Glynn on the left. Glenavon’s number three managed to squeeze a shot in, but there was no power in it and Portadown keeper Jethren Barr was able to make a routine stop.
Fitzpatrick was involved again two minutes later when he teed Peter Campbell up. The forward’s shot had more venom in it than Glynn’s, but it still didn’t trouble Barr.
Stedman had a good opportunity to open the scoring for the hosts on 28 minutes when the ball fell to him at the back post, but he snatched at his shot with his left foot and dragged his effort wide.
Leo Donnellan hit the target with a free kick for Portadown three minutes later, but Brown was equal to the effort.
Jenkins threatened in the 40th minute when he cut inside from the right. His left-foot shot was hit well but was always rising and ended up going harmlessly over the crossbar.
The opening goal arrived on 42 minutes. Lee Upton played a pass into the feet of Jenkins, who took one touch to control the ball before deftly flicking it past Haughey to find Conaty. The forward took a good first touch to get the ball out of his feet and find space for a shot and he was able to beat the dive of Brown and find the far corner with a low strike to make it 1-0.
Donnellan found the target again from a free kick in the second minute of the second half, but again Brown was able to make the save.
Glenavon found an equaliser on 52 minutes. Glynn sent over an inswinging free kick from the right. Barr came off his line to try and claim the ball, but he failed to catch it as he was challenged by Haughey. The Glenavon captain reacted well to hook the loose ball over his own head and find the back of the net.
Mark Russell hit the target with a fiercely struck shot in the 69th minute for the Ports. Brown had to tip the ball over the bar and concede a corner.
Conaty might have grabbed his and Portadown’s second goal two minutes later. It was Stedman who had the initial shot. The ball was blocked and fell kindly to Conaty, but he blazed over the bar when he really should have at least tested Brown.
Donnellan threatened with yet another free kick on 73 minutes, but Brown calmly watched the ball drift wide of his right-hand post.
Jack Malone had a quiet game for Glenavon in midfield, but he did come into the match more in the closing stages, and moments after the Donnellan effort he hit a wicked shot on the half volley. Barr had to be alert to tip the ball over the bar.
Glynn sent a brilliant low ball right across the face of goal in the 76th minute from the left flank. All it needed was a touch, but no Glenavon player was able to provide it.
Glenavon had two decent opportunities to take all three points in the dying minutes of the game. Substitute Eoin Bradley showed customary strength to hold off Jason Akiotu as he turned and got a shot away with his left foot in the last minute of normal time. Barr was beaten, but the ball came back off the post and fell kindly into the keeper’s arms, with Baird lurking for the away side.
In the first minute of injury time the ball fell invitingly for Malone in the Portadown penalty area. His side-footed shot was on target but simply lacked the power to trouble Barr, and so the match ended all square.
Attention turns to the League Cup on Tuesday night (4th October), as Glenavon welcome Loughgall to Mourneview Park for a second-round tie. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Portadown: 1. Jethren Barr (GK), 3. Jason Akiotu, 5. Lee Upton, 8. Leo Donnellan, 10. Billy Stedman, 11. Mark Russell, 14. Oisin Conaty, 18. Patrick McNally (C), 19. Joshua Archer, 20. Stephen Teggart, 30. Jordan Jenkins
Subs: 7. Alberto Balde Almanazar (for 10. Billy Stedman, 80’); not used: 13. Ruadhan McKenna (GK), 4. Howard Beverland, 15. Joseph Moore, 22. Katlego Mashigo, 23. Don Dieu Tantale, 27. Jonah Mitchell
Goals: 14. Oisin Conaty (42’)
Yellow cards: 14. Oisin Conaty (67’)
Glenavon: 1. Rory Brown (GK), 3. Micheal Glynn, 4. Calum Birney, 5. Mark Haughey (C), 8. Michael O’Connor, 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 10. Peter Campbell, 16. Isaac Baird, 23. Daniel Wallace, 29. Jack Malone, 30. Sean Ward
Subs: 20. Conor Scannell (for 30. Sean Ward, 46’), 17. Conor McCloskey (for 8. Michael O’Connor, 70’), 80. Eoin Bradley (for 9. Matthew Fitzpatrick, 70’), 7. Matthew Snoddy (for 5. Mark Haughey, 77’); not used: 21. Aaron Prendergast, 26. Joshua Doyle, 28. Robert Garrett
Goals: 5. Mark Haughey (52’)
Yellow cards: 5. Mark Haughey (4’), 30. Sean Ward (30’), 23. Daniel Wallace (89’)
Referee: Christopher Morrison