Portadown fans must have thought this was Groundhog Day – a case of déjà vu after victory over ‘auld enemy’ Glenavon on Boxing Day.
It was all so similar – a 2-0 win, a thumping headed goal by Richard Lecky from a Ross Redman cross, a rare goal from a defender (Brian Gartland this time), a missed penalty, a clean sheet
“All that matters is that we banked three points,” said manager Ronnie McFall, as his resurgent team moved to the margins of the top six.
“We’ve had a poor start to the league, but now that most of our injured players are back, and Gary Quigg (striker signed from Shamrock Rovers) will be eligible in the New Year, I’m convinced we’ll keep moving up.”
The signing of Quigg is something of a blow to perennial stand-in striker Lecky, whose two Yuletide goals take his Ports tally up to 50.
He started the two holiday games due to the suspension of regular front man Darren Murray.
And the advent of Quigg will push him further down the pecking order.
“But no matter,” said the big Castlederg teacher.
“I’ve enjoyed the Christmas period and those two goals, both set up brilliantly by Ross, were the icing on the cake. They were just begging to be buried.”
Redman, meanwhile, won’t have to invest in any champagne to toast in the New Year tonight, as he received his second successive bottle of bubbly from the Ports fans as Man of the Match - on Boxing Day and against the Bannsiders.
“It’s a great double honour,” said the all-action number three. “I can’t recall a left-back receiving the bottle of champers two matches in a row, and I’ll raise a glass with my friends on Monday night.”