IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield fire home five goals past Portadown

Celebration time for Linfield at Shamrock Park in the 5-0 victory over Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Celebration time for Linfield at Shamrock Park in the 5-0 victory over Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Linfield’s greatest resistance came from the fog at Shamrock Park as the visitors’ title push picked up three extra points with a 5-0 win over basement-based Portadown.

Heavy conditions reduced visibility over the course of the match but three goals in seven second-half minutes cemented Linfield’s level of control after two before the break.

Stephen Lowry opened the scoring by racing into the box to smash home a return pass off Kirk Millar.

It was 2-0 thanks to a delightful strike from distance by Paul Smyth after the playmaker took full advantage of the time and space afforded by the hosts.

Linfield cemented control after half-time - with Millar’s low drive kicking off the second-half scoring on 52 minutes.

A slick break ended with Jamie Mulgrew controlling a cross on the run and heading into the penalty box before a delicate finish lifted the ball over goalkeeper Chris McGaughey.

Number five arrived thanks to Mark Stafford as Portadown struggled to react to a Mark Haughey header off a free-kick delivery.

McGaughey saved a penalty kick by substitute Ryan Strain with the final kick of the match.

PORTADOWN: Chris McGaughey, Mark Carson, Garry Breen, Keith O’Hara, Alan Byrne, Sam Simpson, Robert Garrett, Brendan Shannon, Sean Mackle, Eoin Kirwan, Aaron Haire. Subs: Conor Larkin, Zac Wilson (Mackle, 64), Tim Mouncey, Stephen Hughes (Simpson, 56), Matthew Parker (Haire, 76).

LINFIELD: Roy Carroll, Mark Stafford, Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callacher, Andrew Waterworth, Stephen Lowry, Kirk Millar, Sean Ward, Jamie Mulgrew, Niall Quinn, Paul Smyth. Subs: Chris Casement, Stephen Fallon (Lowry, 64), Ross Clarke, Ross Gaynor (Smyth, 55), Ryan Strain (Waterworth, 75).

Referee: Mervyn Smyth.