IRISH LEAGUE: Portadown and Welders share the spoils

Portadown manager Niall Currie.
Portadown manager Niall Currie.

It was a case of honours even during a scoreless draw at Shamrock Park between Portadown and Harland and Wolff Welders which left both camps with regrets.

Play proved tight, with Niall Henderson’s low free-kick to Gary Warwick presenting the first opening but the latter slipped before he could release a shot.

Fifteen-year-old Alberto Balde - on his home debut a week after becoming the youngest scorer in Portadown’s history during the previous fixture - displayed nice skill on the right but the supporting Chris Lavery failed to maximise the cutback.

Balde and another Ports teenager, Luke Wilson, linked up to find Adam Salley, who opted to shoot from distance when Warwick was available on the left side.

The Welders’ Lukasz Gwiazda then picked out David Rainey on the right but Portadown regrouped to cut out the threat - before a mix-up between Mark Carson and Ross Larkin led to a loose ball fired towards the target by Ryan Deans but it was deflected over the bar.

Chris McGaughey pulled off the first save of the afternoon but Rainey’s shot lacked the power to trouble the goalkeeper.

Kyle McVey, under pressure, had his header clear the crossbar off Lavery’s corner-kick.

Substitute Peter Duffin tested Welders goalkeeper Robert Robinson but the visitors’ number one produced a smart near-post save.

The Welders came close late in the half but Josh Boyd opted to head the ball towards Rainey rather than goalwards despite time and space in the area.

Balde’s sidefoot volley almost produced the game’s first goal to cap good work on the left by Lavery but the teenager’s effort flashed past the wrong side of the upright.

Robinson was on hand to frustrate Salley from the striker’s drive inside the box.

McGaughey then had to drop low to stop a Scott McMillan header as Rainey slid in to attack.

Deans then raced in from deep to meet William Armstrong’s cross to the edge of the area but the header drifted wide.

Robinson had to be alert to smother McMillan’s close-range backwards header - it proved the final talking point.

PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Carson, Brennan, McVey, Larkin, N.Henderson, Wilson, Warwick (Duffin, 27), Lavery (Kilmartin, 86), Salley, Balde (D.Henderson, 70).

SUBS (NOT USED): McCallum, Neill.

HARLAND AND WOLFF WELDERS: Robinson, Spence, Armstrong, McMillan, McMurray, Harris, Deans, Gwiazda, Boyd (Bonnes, 60), Withers, (Malone, 76), Rainey.

SUBS (NOT USED): Graham, McKeown, Craughwell.

Referee: Shane Andrews.