IRISH LEAGUE: Blank as Glentoran and Portadown share the spoils

Glentoran's Ciaran Caldwell
tries to get away from Portadown's Stephen Hughes
during Saturday's match at The Oval (
Photo by TONY HENDRON/Presseye.com.)

Glentoran's Ciaran Caldwell tries to get away from Portadown's Stephen Hughes during Saturday's match at The Oval ( Photo by TONY HENDRON/Presseye.com.)

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Glentoran and Portadown served up a stalemate at The Oval on an afternoon of few sights of goal.

Curtis Allen came close inside the opening moments but his sidefoot shot at the back post drifted wide after a great right-wing delivery by Aaron Harmon.

Glentoran's Ross Redman
and Portadown's Robert Garrett
during Saturday's match at The Oval
. (Photo by Tony Hendron/Presseye.com.)

Glentoran's Ross Redman and Portadown's Robert Garrett during Saturday's match at The Oval . (Photo by Tony Hendron/Presseye.com.)

Both sides produced some promising passages of play but clear chances proved limited.

Robert Garrett - at the centre of a week-long discussion over his eligibility to play in the previous week’s match with Ards - was energetic and effective in the Ports’ midfield.

Portadown’s best scoring opportunity before the break arrived on 18 minutes when Ross Redman, a Shamrock Park youth product, almost turned a Matthew Parker cross into his own net.

Parker then confirmed his defensive value to the visitors with a close-range block to frustrate Harmon following Chris Lavery’s cross and a flick by Ciaran Caldwell.

Chris McGaughey produced the first save of the second half but it proved a comfortable claim to collect Calum Birney’s looping header.

A superb run by Garrett on 55 minutes offered a spark after the break as he collected the ball in space on the left wing, cut inside and drifted past three Glentoran challenges - but his shot cleared the crossbar.

Lavery then went on a slick individual run from deep into the penalty area but could not direct his shot on target from a tight angle.

Glentoran enjoyed the majority of possession after the interval but, with the exception of an Allen goal ruled out, lacked a cutting edge.

Sean Mackle was introduced off the substitutes’ bench by Portadown on 79 minutes for his first Danske Bank Premiership appearance since August 27 against Crusaders, with his return following discussions to resolve an internal disciplinary issue.

Another talking point from the sidelines arrived with Nacho Novo’s introduction on 85 minutes - and exit on 89 minutes. He did not appear to be suffering from injury.

GLENTORAN: Elliott Morris, Calum Birney, Jay Magee, Johnny Addis, Ross Redman, Eric Foley, Ciaran Caldwell, Stephen Gordon, Aaron Harmon, Chris Lavery, Curtis Allen. Dwayne Nelson, Jonathan Smith (Gordon, 62), Nacho Novo (Lavery, 85), Kym Nelson (Novo, 89), Karl Hamill.

PORTADOWN: Chris McGaughey, Mark Carson, Ken Oman, Alan Byrne, Keith O’Hara, Matthew Parker, Robert Garrett, Niall Henderson, Brendan Shannon, Stephen Hughes, Aaron Haire. Subs: Conor Larkin, Garry Breen, Eoin Kirwan (Haire, 86), Sam Simpson, Sean Mackle (Shannon, 79).

Referee: Evan Boyce.