Murray nets three goals as Ports see off Celtic challenge

Shamrock Park
Shamrock Park

Darren Murray grabbed a summer hat-trick as Portadown defeated Lurgan Celtic by 5-1 at Shamrock Park.

Aaron Haire - one of four former Portadown players in the Celtic squad alongside Jamie McArdle, Adam Rodgers and Josh Barton- found the net in the closing stages to claim a consolation for the visitors.

It was Murray who claimed the plaudits in attack overall by bringing his tally to four goals in two fixtures at the final whistle.

Haire, however, looked sharp as Celtic’s lone forward, with Chris Lavery a threat thanks to his pace and skill.

Murray provided the cutting edge in attack but a change on 19 minutes due to Garry Breen’s injury sparked the Ports into life.

Teenager Jake Richardson climbed off the sidelines and produced an assist within a few minutes as Murray headed home the opening goal.

Sean Mackle delivered a number of teasing balls into the danger area and one almost led to a second Portadown goal but the in-rushing Richardson could only find goalkeeper McArdle with his back-post header.

Chris Ramsey doubled the lead by slotting home Chris Casement’s corner-kick with a close-range sidefoot strike.

A slick angled drive by Murray put Portadown into a 3-0 advantage.

Another Richardson assist - a low cross from the right - was steered home by Gary Twigg after the interval.

Murray’s treble finish proved a composed finale to the hosts’ attacking play.

Haire had a penalty kick saved by Miskelly but found a spot on the scoresheet soon after with a firm near-post header.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Garry Breen, Jordan Lyttle, Chris Ramsey, Sean Mackle, Michael Gault, Tim Mouncey, Darren Murray, Gary Twigg, Christian Stewart. Subs: Billy Brennan, Robert Garrett (on for Lyttle, 46 mins), Jake Richardson (on for Breen, 19 mins), Peter McMahon (on for Twigg, 68 mins), Matthew Parker (on for Casement, 73 mins), John Gibson (on for Mouncey, 73 mins), Marcio Soares (on for Murray, 81 mins).

LURGAN CELTIC: Jamie McArdle, Shane McCabe, Adam Rodgers, Steven Hutchinson, Niall Lavery, Dale Malone, Josh Barton, Jason Rogers, Chris Lavery, Aaron Haire. Subs: Aron Thompson (on for Barton, 68 mins), Marty Kemp (on for McCabe, 73 mins), Conor McCorry (on for N.Lavery, 73 mins), Michael Goff (on for McArdle, 48 mins), Michael Bunting (on for Malone, 68 mins).