Ports stay on course after treble delight

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

This result could determine the end-of-season destiny of both clubs, should they keep their present league positions.

The Ports, sitting third, are in line for the glory Europe, the ’Point, one from bottom, for the oblivion of the Championship.

The chasm in class showed as the league splits into the two ‘sixes’.

Portadown gave a real exhibition of finishing in the first-half, when they netted all three goals, and a master class in defending after the break when Warrenpoint suddenly realised what was at stake.

In that early onslaught, the Down side’s defending was of the schoolboy variety, with the Shamrock men virtually unchallenged for their triplet of scores.

Big Chris Ramsey started the rout when he nipped in from midfield to nod home and finish off a sublime four-man move that had the opposition in a whirl.

They stood and watched as Ramsey entered the six-yard ‘box’ danger area.

As the half progressed, danger man Gary Twigg got in the act, with two goals, also from inside the undefended ‘box’.

The first of the brace was on 17 minutes when John Barton robbed Darren King on the left, keeper Jonathan Parr let his cross slip through his fingers and Twigg had an empty net beckoning.

And the third was another sitter, with Sean Mackle and Darren Murray carving the opening down the right and again Twigg was left alone to bang it home.

Warrenpoint missed a penalty while all this was developing, with the Brothers Hughes involved.

Mark created it when a great run ended with Garry Breen hauling him down, keeper David Miskelly beat out Stephen’s spot-kick, and pulled off an even better stop when Daniel slammed in the rebound.

Both managers were making optimistic noises afterwards, with Ports, Ronnie McFall dreaming of Europe.

“Crusaders are our closest rivals for the third spot,” He said.

“We play them next Saturday and they have a tough mid-week game against Glentoran.

“It’s up to us and I believe we’ll do it.”

Barry Gray took heart from the determined second-half display. “If we can maintain that form, I think we’ll steer away from danger,” he said. “The first-half was horrendous, but we’ll learn from that. The lads worked hard but we conceded goals.”