IRISH LEAGUE: Glenavon do demolition derby job on Portadown

Glenavons' Kevin Braniff and Portadowns' Ken Oman
Glenavons' Kevin Braniff and Portadowns' Ken Oman

Glenavon 4 Portadown 1

It was a demolition derby at Mourneview Park as Glenavon put Portadown to the sword at Mourneview Park.

Glenavon dominated the first half against an ill-disciplined Portadown side, who managed to pick up three bookings inside the opening 45 minutes.

On two minutes an inviting Kevin Braniff cross looked for Eoin Bradley but was unable to find him, and three minutes later a Kearns cross reached Joel Cooper but he was unable to get a shot away.

Braniff forced a save from David Miskelly on 12 minutes when Bradley flicked the ball onto his strike partner to shoot from 25 yards, but the big keeper managed to punch the effort over.

The hosts had another chance when Cooper played a nice ball to Bradley down the left. He played a low cross for Ciaran Martyn who slid in to meet the ball, but his effort hit the post before being cleared.

The wind played a part in Glenavon’s next opportunity when Simon Kelly’s cross-field ball held up nicely for Braniff to shoot, but his shot was saved by Miskelly.

Chris Ramsey was booked for persistent fouling before Michael Gault earned a yellow card for fouling Cooper on 26 minutes. Braniff took the resulting free kick and curled the set piece past Miskelly to give the Lurgan men the lead on 27 minutes.

And they doubled their lead on 35 minutes when a Cooper cross was tapped in by Bradley.

There was another Portadown booking, this time Robbie Garrett landing himself himself in the referee’s book for a late tackle on Andy Kilmartin, before the Ports had their first - and only - chance of note in the first half when Ramsey fired over from 25 yards.

They had a second chance at the start of the second half when a shot from Chris Casement, coming from a low Ross Redman cross, was turned away by Tuffey.

The Ports were dealt a blow when goalkeeper Miskelly had to go off injured when he landed awkwardly after jumping for a high ball with Rhys Marshall. Teenager Marty Marron came on in his place after a lengthy stoppage.

They pulled a goal back in controversial circumstances on 65 minutes. Glenavon had a goal ruled out for offside, a decision which looked tight from from the press box, when Martyn fed Bradley to round Marron and slot home. Portadown counter attacked and found the net through Casement, whose shot crept in off the post.

But Glenavon need not have worried as Bradley restored the two goal advantage when Marron spilt a long range shot from Bradley. The Derry GAA man pounced on the loose ball to score his 20th goal in all competitions this season.

The day went from bad to worse for the visitors when Garrett was sent off for a second yellow card after bringing down Cooper on 71 minutes.

That sending off was the seventh Portadown player to be sent off in the last eight Mid-Ulster derbies.

Glenavon continued their dominance until he end and could have added a third when an Andy Hall free kick was tipped over the bar, and then the same player crossed for Braniff to head at goal, but again Marron came to the rescue to push it over the net.

Kilmartin, not the most prolific of goalscorers, wrapped up proceedings with the last touch of the ball, turning in a low cross from Hall deep into the seven minutes of added time.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Kilmartin, Marshall, Cooper, Bradley, McGrory, Braniff, Kearns, Martyn. Subs: Lindsay, Hall (Kearns 74), Sykes (Martyn 90), O’Brien, Hamilton (Marshall 83).

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, Ramsey, Breen, McAllister, Oman, Gault, Lowry, Garrett, Soares. Subs: Marron (Miskelly 54), Mouncey, Parker, Mackle (Ramsey 78), Withers (Soares 80).

REFEREE: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)