IRISH LEAGUE: Knockbreda stay top as Ports suffer another defeat

Portadown manager Niall Currie. Pics by PressEye Ltd.
Portadown manager Niall Currie. Pics by PressEye Ltd.

Championship pre-season promotion favourites Portadown suffered a second successive league defeat as leaders Knockbreda cemented top spot courtesy of an early goal at Shamrock Park.

The game’s defining moment arrived on eight minutes when Portadown failed to clear a corner-kick and Ciaran Murray’s initial shot from outside the area dropped inside the box, allowing Karl Hamill to convert.

Portadown finished frustrated at failure to significantly find a way back into contention during what also proved a second Shamrock Park reverse in as many fixtures.

Knockbreda came close to a second goal inside the first half when Stephen Cockcroft’s free-kick delivery was met on the run by Murray but it lacked power.

Portadown struggled to mount any sustained pressure overall but carved out one opening late in the half thanks to neat play between Adam Salley and Chris Lavery before David McCullough’s clipped cross was headed over by Stefan Lavery.

Stefan Lavery then failed to steer home a low cross after the interval from second-half substitute Kevin Amuneke.

However, Knockbreda almost doubled the lead thanks to neat footwork by Lewis Irwin but Murray’s fierce angled drive deflected off the outstretched boot of Fra Brennan and on to the outside of the upright.

PORTADOWN: Connolly, Carson (Ferris, 75), Neill, McCallum, Brennan, N.Henderson, McCullough, C.Lavery, Hazley (Duffin, 56), S.Lavery, Salley (Amuneke, 56).

Subs (not used): Kilmartin, Duffin.

KNOCKBREDA: Ferguson, Culbert, Pike, McVeigh, Arthur, Hamill, Irwin (Walls, 87), Cooling, Newberry, Murray, Cockcroft (Cafolla, 80).

Subs (not used): Sergeant, Halliday, Patterson.

Referee: E.Grech.