IRISH LEAGUE: Portadown cruise past struggling Celtic with biggest win of league season

Portadown manager Niall Currie.
Portadown manager Niall Currie.

Portadown gained a welcome boost in the Bluefin Sport Championship promotion push by recording the biggest win of the club’s league campaign to see off basement-based Lurgan Celtic by 6-0.

The Ports entered the derby date in search of improved form and fortune from the first of two Shamrock Park league tests inside five days heading into a Boxing Day visit to Loughgall.

Niall Currie’s side took just nine minutes to break the deadlock as a well-worked free-kick delivery was attacked twice by Kyle McVey before Adam Salley slotted home with Celtic goalkeeper Gavin Neill stranded.

Salley came close to a second but, with Neill out of his area, his shot was deflected wide by the outstretched foot of Raymond Fitzpatrick.

However, off the resultant corner-kick delivery by Gary Warwick, a firm header from McVey made it 2-0.

Chris Lavery dragged a shot wide of the mark as Portadown continued to take advantage of Celtic’s defensive frailties.

Substitute Darren Henderson was introduced before the half-hour mark following the exit of Stefan Lavery on a stretcher.

The striker headed over the bar from a promising position inside the box from Niall Henderson’s angled delivery.

Celtic suffered another setback when Fitzpatrick’s header found Chris Lavery unmarked on the edge of the area and the winger punished his former team-mates at the second time of asking.

Chris Lavery produced a surging run along the left late in injury-time from inside his own half and delivered an end product with a teasing cross which Darren Henderson converted courtesy of a downward header at the far post.

Darren Henderson picked up Warwick’s pass with time and space inside the area on 60 minutes but his shot from a few yards was pushed over by Neill with a point-blank stop.

However, Darren Henderson eventually doubled his tally by proving alert inside the area to slot home after Neill could only push out Warwick’s curling sidefoot shot from the edge of the box.

Celtic’s problems continued with a red card for Fitzpatrick on 76 minutes.

Chris Lavery closed out the afternoon with a shot from distance that squeezed past Neill.

PORTADOWN: McGaughey, McCullough (L.Wilson, 63), Brennan, McVey, McCallum, N.Henderson, Kilmartin (Holmes, 70), Warwick, S.Lavery (D.Henderson, 27), Salley, C.Lavery.

Subs (not used): Carson, Balde.

LURGAN CELTIC: Neill, J.Rodgers, A.Rodgers, Bell, Noonan, Gibson (Lavery, 45), Crawford, McAlinden, Fitzpatrick, Campbell (Toland, 54), Mullen (Bunting, 54).

Subs (not used): Farren, A.Henderson.