Glenavon came from two goals down to clinch a point in a 2-2 derby draw with Portadown at Shamrock Park on Tuesday night.
It was a game full of drama and controversy and a red card as Ronnie McFall’s side were reduced to ten men and in the end they held out for a point when it seemed they were coasting to victory.
The visitors had a half chance on six minutes when a long ball out of defence by Conor Dillon was missed by Keith O’Hara and fell to Kevin Braniff but as he stretched his weak header did not trouble goalkeeper David Miskelly.
Three minutes later a good cross from Ross Redman was met by Peter McMahon on the half volley but the ball flew high over the Glenavon bar.
Glenavon did have the ball in the net on 14 minutes when Eoin Bradley headed home, but his effort was ruled out by referee Arnold Hunter for a foul on the keeper by Braniff.
Sixty seconds later it was the Ports out of luck as a dipping shot from Darren Murray came off the underside of the bar and after a goalmouth scramble the ball was cleared. It was Braniff’s turn to shoot on sight as the ball broke to him on the edge of the area but his firmly hit effort was pushed out by Miskelly and hooked away by Redman.
Michael Gault ended a slick Portadown four man move with a crisp shot which went straight to Tuffey. On 36 minutes Hall’s inswinging corner clipped the top of the Portadown bar.
A minute from the break Glenavon appealed for a penalty after Cooper was felled right on the edge of the box by Gault. Cooper was adamant he was inside the box but only a free kick was awarded which came to nothing.
The second half was only two minutes old when Cooper should have given Glenavon the lead. A good run by Marshall on the right flank saw him delivery the ball into the middle, Cooper got free but with the goal at his mercy he lifted his shot over the bar.
Glenavon were to rue that miss on 53 minutes when Portadown took the lead from the penalty spot. A cut back from Mackle hit Kris Lindsay on the arm, the linesman flag went up and referee Hunter pointed to the spot. After Darren Murray swept the resultant spot kick home Glenavon keeper Tuffey and manager Gary Hamilton, who was warming up on the touchline, were given yellow cards for dissent.
The Ports took a firm grip of the match three minutes later when Gary Twigg ran clear of Lindsay and clipped an angled shot wide of the advancing Tuffey.
Glenavon then introduced all three subs with Hamilton, Mark Sykes and Mark Patton replacing Braniff, Copper and Neill in a bid to change the game.
There was hope for Glenavon on 80 minutes when Patton’s run ended with the ball breaking to Bradley and he hooked a left foot shot in off the post. Portadown were reduced to ten men on 85 minutes when Sean Mackle saw red for his late challenge on Kilmartin.
The drama was not over as a minute later Hamilton floated over a free kick and Singleton rose to glance a looping header beyond Miskelly.
Bradley might have won it in added time for Glenavon but his shot fizzed inches wide of the post.
Portadown: Miskelly, Richardson, Redman, O’Hara, Oman, Gault, Mackle, McMahon, Twigg, Murray.
Glenavon: Tuffey, Neill, Dillon, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Cooper, Bradley, Hall, Braniff, Sinigletono.
Subs: Kelly, Patton, Sykes, McGrory, Hamilton.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)
B ookings: Portadown: Stewart (76). Garrett (81). Glenavon: Tuffey (56), Hamilton (56), Neill (59),Singleton (61), Sykes (90).