Battling Blues edged out by Ports

Glenavon lost a Mid Ulster derby for the second time this season as they went down 3-2 at Shamrock Park.

However, they certainly put up a battling performance in a superb clash between the two rivals.

Glenavon's Rhys Marshall 'celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1'during Saturday's match at Shamrock Park

Glenavon's Rhys Marshall 'celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1'during Saturday's match at Shamrock Park

The Ports created the first chance on three minutes when Gary Twigg got in behind and his low drive fizzed across the face of goal.

Glenavon responded with a flowing move which saw Ciaran Caldwell and Eoin Bradley combine to put Rhys Marshall clear on the right flank, his low cross for Kyle Neill was turned behind for a corner.

After a series of Glenavon corners came to nothing Martyn almost poked the Lurgan Blues in front when he got on the end of Marshall’s cross but his effort was deflected for a corner.

The Ports had two chances to find the opener in two minutes. First Twigg brought a good save out of Blayney and then in another quick break Mackle clipped in a teasing ball but Conor Dillon made a timely clearance before Twigg could connect.

On 24 minutes the home side got their noses in front from the penalty spot. After Twigg directed a header onto the top of the bar the ref awarded a penalty as he deemed Twigg had his shirt pulled by Singleton. Chris Casement sent Blayney the wrong way and it was 1-0 to the Ports.

On 36 minutes it was 2-0 with Mackle sweeping the ball over Blayney after the Glenavon stopper could only parry a drive from McAllister.

Glenavon needed to get back into the game before the break and they did with a lovely piece of skill from Braniff. He cleverly switched the ball to Caldwell who found Neill on the wing, his cross was flicked on by Martyn and Marshall was on hand to hammer the ball home from close in.

The visitors got the start to the second half they did not want as they conceded a third. When Blayney failed to collect from a corner McMahon’s shot was cleared off the line by Marshall but McAllister was quick to pounce to fire home.

A long throw from McKeown nearly found a way back for the visitors with William Murphy’s header clipping the top of the bar.

Glenavon had to wait until 72 minutes before reducing the gap again to one goal and it came out of nothing as Bradley managed to find space and his well struck drive flew past Miskelly.

The Lurgan Blues brought on Gary Hamilton and Andy McGrory for Singleton and Marshall and it was the player manager who set up the next chance with a great ball in behind the Ports defence but Caldwell could not reach it ahead of Miskelly.

Then a scamble ensued in the home box with Neill floating the ball over - Hamilton went down and appealed for a penalty but with nothing given he was then booked by the ref.

Glenavon piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser and Miskelly did well to hold onto a blistering shot from Braniff.

There was late drama as O’Hara was given a straight red after he caught Martyn on the head right on the edge of the penalty area. Braniff’s free kick hit the wall and when Bradley turned the ball in again Dillon’s weak header was saved.

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, O’Hara, Breen, McMahon, Mackle, McAllister, Mouncey, Twigg, Garrett.

Subs: Brennan, Ramsey, Conaty, Lyttle, McMahon.

GLENAVON: Blayney, McKeown, Neill, Murphy, Bradley, Dillon, Caldwell, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn, Singleton.

Subs: Kilmartin, Hamilton, McGrory, McNally, Hoey.

Referee: Andrew Davey