Portadown edge thriller as they see off Dungannon Swifts

Portadown's Gary Twigg celebrates
Portadown's Gary Twigg celebrates

What a thriller! Six cracking goals and 90 minutes non-stop attacking football which both sides were determined to win but with the more experienced Ports triumphing in the end.

Every one of the half dozen goals was different matching the variety and the quality of football served up on a heavy pitch. A real advert for Irish League football.

Dungannon went ahead after just six minutes thanks to a looping header from Adam McMinn from a Matt Hazley corner. It was tough luck on Ports’ keeper David Miskelly who pulled off a superb save from the head of David McCullough – the keeper’s superb stop lead to the corner.

It should have been 2-0 on 19 minutes when Hazley laid on a perfect pass for Jamie Tomelty, but the ex-Ports man shot weakly past when he really should have scored.

It was all Dungannon, and a far-out shot from Tomelty whizzed past the post – and then Portadown had their first pop at goal midway through the first half when a blockbuster from Sean Mackle shaved the crossbar at the other end.

The action stepped up just after the half hour, when Cameron Grieve headed a Chris Casement corner off the Swifts’ line and Ryan Harpur just missed at the other end.

And a minute later ace striker Gary Twigg put the Ports level when he ran onto a perfect through pass from Peter McMahon and slipped it brilliantly into the corner past keeper Gareth Buchanan.

It was a mystery how the Swifts didn’t edge ahead just before the break when no fewer than four players had shoals of room upfront with the Ports defence standing idly by, but Harpur and then Tomelty were both badly off target.

And in the dying seconds of the half you would have put your shirt on Twigg adding a second for the Ports when Joshua Barton sent him through but a brilliant tackle by Fra Brennan robbed the Scot.

Nine minutes after the restart the Swifts went ahead with a marvellous goal from Ryan Harpur- a 30 yard free-kick which bent over the wall gave Miskelly no chance. It came after referee Wesley Campbell adjudged a Garry Breen had fouled Gary Liggett.

But Breen made amends within three minutes when he bagged the equalizer, a slick volley from an Emmet Friars free kick.The Ports went ahead on 66 minutes with a real screamer from Peter McMahon. It was the most direct of routes when he ran onto an up field punt from Miskelly and he let fly from 25 yards with a big dipper that Buchanan couldn’t get near.

Sean Mackle settled it for the Ports with a subtle header from a Casement cross which rounded off a real thriller of a match which Portadown just about deserved.

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Casement, O’Hara, Ramsey, Breen, McMahon, Mackle, McCafferty, Twigg, Friars, Rooney. Subs: Brennan, McStay (for Ramsey 57), Judge, Barton (for Rooney 24), O’Connor.

D’GANNON SWIFTS- Buchanan, McCullough, Brennan, McMinn, Greive, Harpur, Tomelty, Hazley, Hutchinson, Liggett, Brolly. Subs- Laverty (for Tomelty 67), Fitzpatrick, Glackin (for Brolly 84), Topley,Lowe.

Referee- Wesley Campbell