GLENAVON 3 PORTADOWN 2
Mark Patton came back to haunt Portadown as Glenavon ended their 17-year Boxing Day hoodoo.
Lurgan didn’t escape the wintry conditions on Boxing 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.
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.
Later Rhys Marshall headed over a Kyle Neill corner before there was a chance at the other end for the Ports. Andy Coleman raced out to meet a poor Kris Lindsay back-pass, and the defender did well to recover and block a Darren Murray shot with the goalkeeper still scrambling back.
Gary Hamilton tried to cheekily back heel a Bates cross with Miskelly getting down to save it.
The hosts should have been in front when Andy McGrory capitalised on a defensive error, nipping in to set up Bates who should have scored but his low effort was stopped by Miskelly.
However they would get 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 Marshall flicked a Neill corner past Miskelly.
They could have had a third shortly after the break when Winkie 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.
Ronnie McFall’s men were back on level terms seven 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.
Both teams went blood and thunder to try and grab the all-important winner with McGrory coming close on 88 minutes, hitting the bar from the edge of the box.
But Glenavon were not to be denied and substitute Mark Patton scored three minutes into stoppage time to end Glenavon’s Christmas misery.
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
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.
GOALS: McMahon 49, Murray 56
BOOKINGS: McCafferty 66
REFEREE: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)