Mark Patton ended a 17-year wait for Glenavon to beat Portadown on Boxing Day.
The winger struck a last gasp winner in added time to seal a 3-2 win for the Lurgan Blues and send the home support into raptures at Mourneview Park.
Lurgan didn’t escape the wintry conditions on Boxing Day morning and there were doubts over whether the Mourneview Park pitch would be playable, but referee Raymond Hetherington gave the game the go-ahead 30 minutes before kick-off.
The area around the goalmouth was rock hard but ground staff forked it up and on the side of the pitch sheltered by the stand the players were asked to do their warm-up in that area to help break of the frosted grass.
And the game didn’t take long to heat up. Four minutes in Guy Bates, who has been out of form in recent weeks, curled the first shot of the game wide from the edge of the box.
The hosts went in front five minutes from the break when McGrory played the ball over player-boss Hamilton’s shoulder. He let it bounce before unleashing a powerful shot into the net.
Four minutes later they were 2-0 up when teenager Rhys Marshall flicked a Neill corner past Miskelly.
They could have had a third shortly after the break when William Murphy headed home a Hamilton corner but it was ruled out for a push in the box.
The next goal would be crucial, and so it proved when Peter McMahon got the Ports back into the game, reacting quickest after his initial shot had been blocked.
Portadown were back on level terms just two minutes later when McMahon fed Murray to round Coleman, but his shot came back off the post with the rebound being deflected wide for a corner. Chris Casement swung it in and Murray hooked the cross into the net.
The turnaround should have been completed when Marshall failed to deal with a high ball, Gary Twigg nipped in and all he had to do was score, but he fired wide when one on one with Coleman but in the end it was Patton’s goal which was to prove decisive.
He was set up by David Rainey and took his chance with a low drive that flew into the far corner of the net.
“We should have been three up at the break, but Portadown had their opportunities when they got back on level terms,”said manager Gary Hamilton.
“I have to praise our boys for their character. They fought right to the final whistle and it certainly was last gasp stuff.”
GLENAVON: Coleman, Neill, Murphy, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Hamilton, Bates, McGrory, Marshall, McKeown, McCabe. Subs: Rainey (Hamilton 86), Patton (Neill 76), McIlveen, Martyn (Kilmartin 74), Gardiner.
GOALS: Hamilton 40, Marshall 43, Patton 93
BOOKINGS: Hamilton 66
PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Casement, O’Hara, Ramsey, Breen, McMahon, Murray, Mackle, McCafferty, Twigg, Barton. Subs: Brennan, O’Connor, Mouncey (Barton 60), McStay (Mackle 92), Rooney.
REFEREE: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)