Jackson shines on Portadown defeat

Zoe Jackson saves for Portadown
Zoe Jackson saves for Portadown

Portadown remain in relegation trouble despite a spirited display in losing 3-0 to Lurgan in the only Premier League game to beat the weather on Saturday.

Teenage Ports’ goalkeeper Zoe Jackson stole the show with a terrific performance while Lucy McKee had one of her best games in a Lurgan shirt.

She increased her goal tally to 19 for the season with a brace and had a hand in her team’s other goal scored by the impressive Chloe McCann.

Had it not been for Jackson’t brilliance Portadown would have been staring at a much heavier defeat.

Her string of saves could well be important factor in the long run as Portadown have a superior goal difference at the bottom of the table.

That is taken into consideration should the sides finish level on points at the end of the league programme and currently that is the only thing separating the bottom two.

While Lurgan stay an outside bet for the title with much resting on their game with Pegasus on Saturday, the Ports are level on points with Victorians.

Vics pulled off a major shock midweek when they held Ards to a 2-2 draw to secure only their second point of the campaign to date.

On Saturday, Portadown were under extreme presssure virtually from the start and only some dogged defending kept the Lurgan attack at bay in the opening few minutes.

The first real chance fell to McKee who had an opportunity to score from the first penalty corner of the game in the ninth minute but Jackson blocked her effort.

Three minutes later after Shelley Sloan had shot narrowly wide, Zoe Hawthorne had a chance to open the scoring but once again Jackson was alert to the danger.

Then in the 19th minute Bethany Barr got in a reverse stick shot but with the same outcome as Jackson came to the rescue.

Within 60 seconds McKee, who was in sparkling form, set off on a great run and Jackson did well to save yet again.

But the opening goal wasn’t long in coming and inevitably it was McKee who scored it.

She collected a pass from McCann and after a neat shimmy fired the ball into the corner of the net from an extremely difficult angle leaving her with no margin for error.

Six minutes after the break Mckee had the ball in the net from a powerful shot from the edge of the circle but the umpire had blown fractionally beforhand for a penalty corner.

However justice was done when McKee got the goal she initialy deserved from the resulting set-piece after swapping passes with Hannah Grieve.

Two minutes later McKee turned architect as she and Sarah McClure combined to set up McCann who deflected the ball into the net out with a fine deflection. Grieve then created the chance for McKee to complete her treble but her effort was deflected wide of the upright.

Jo Anne Wilson could have made it 4-0 with 12 minutes remaining but Jackson again showed her ability with another great save.

The game continued in a similar vein until the end despite an unsuccessful a late penalty corner from the visitors.

Jackson continued to perform heroics and she did well to prevent Lurgan captain Charlene Hull from scoring with seven minutes remaining.