NEWRY 3 PORTADOWN 2
Newry had to come from behind to lift the Linden Cup and they had to dig deep to fight off a resolute Portadown side who were not going to roll over easily.
It was the Ports who stunned the red hot favourites when Adam Stevenson smashed home the opening goal in the 14th minute. There was a doubt that Stevenson would even have been playing, due to a family tragedy just before Christmas.
And as a mark of respect, a one minute’s silence was observed by the players and spectators before the start of the game.
It was all Portadown as they went at the Newry defence like terriers giving the Reds no time to settle on the ball. In the 29th minute Stevenson found space in the Newry circle only to see his shot go wide off the mark.
Newry were glad to hear the half-time whistle so that they could regroup. And with only one minute of the second half underway Johnny Taylor finished off a switched penalty corner routine to level the score.
Newry were back in the game and in the 49th minute Andrew Gilmer pounced on a loose ball to drill it home to put Newry a head for the first time in the game.
One minute later, came the goal of the game. Robert Irwin drilled a cross from the right and Richard Nummy dived at full stretch to guide the ball into the net, for a goal that deserved to win any cup final.
But the Ports had other ideas and six minutes later Gareth Titler reduced the deficit, to throw the Ports a lifeline.
Portadown were now enjoying a purple patch. However, it was the goal keeping heroics of Robin Hanlon that kept Newry noses in front, as he pulled off save after save, to ensure that the Linden Cup was going to Newry, after an absence of 32 years.
Robin Hanlon, Neil Ligget, Keith McWilliams, Neil McKnight, David England, Robert Irwin, Colin Henning, Richard Nummy, Jeremy Greer, John Taylor, Andrew Gilmer, Colin McKnight, Nigel Davenport, David Andrews, Kyle McCombe, Justin Glass
Jaime Knipe, Gareth Titler, Neil Gilmore, Jeremy Rea, Adam Stevenson, Ryan Bennett, Jamie Wright, Jonny Hassin, Geoff Edgar, Simon Caddell, Stephen Johnson, Stuart Bell, Zach McClelland, Stuart Kirkland, Gregory Croft, Jonny Brown