Braniff’s brace sends Institute bottom
Portadown 3 Institute 1
Neither side had much cause to rejoice after this one, with Institute sinking to the bottom of the league table and Portadown’s top-six aspirations still undecided.
Kevin Braniff turned in a two-goal five-star showing, but the |1-1 draw between Dungannon Swifts and Coleraine at Stangmore means the Ports will require at least a point at Coleraine next Tuesday.
And with Distillery beating Newry City, the danger signs are up for ‘Stute as the drop to the Championship looms larger.
Portadown suffered a blow after just two minutes when lively young striker Jordan Baker sustained a shoulder injury and was rushed off to hospital. But his stand-in Richard Lecky propelled the Ports into the lead.
It was a brilliantly-worked goal on 21 minutes, starting with a Braniff free kick. When everyone expected him to have a shot from 20 yards, he sent Owen Morrison away on the left with an intelligent reverse pass and the ex-Sligo Rovers man crossed for big Lecky to nod home off a post.
However, the lead lasted just four minutes when a slack piece of defending let in Tony Shields to scramble home a Kevin Ramsey headed assist.
Portadown forged ahead 10 minutes after the re-start courtesy of Braniff’s right boot. It was set up by a combination of fine play by Morrison and Keith O’Hara, who cut it across the box and Braniff swivelled to ram it home, low and hard, from 15 yards.
David Ogilby came to Institute’s rescue soon afterwards, hacking a Morrison cross off the line.
Institute played the neater football in the closing stages, but didn’t really get a noteworthy shot in until the 86th minute when a 30-yarder from Kevin Divin tested David Miskelly.
And Braniff sealed it by starting and ending a last-minute move. He sent Johnny Topley away on the left before deftly heading home the pin-point cross.
portadown: Miskelly, O’Hara, Redman, Clarke, Kelly, Braniff, McCutcheon, Baker, Hunter, Morrison, Topley. Subs: Armstrong, McCluskey, Lecky, Haire, Mackle.
INSTITUTE: Cullen, Crown, Seydak, McLaughlin, McClean, Ogilby, Divin, Shields, Ramsey, McCready, Holmes. Subs: Friars, McClements, McFadden, Ryan, Blackburn.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon).
l Donegal Celtic made it through to the final of the WKD Intermediate Cup last night with a 2-1 victory over Dergview at Lakeview Park.
Liam Watson and Paul McVeigh put the Hoops 2-0 up before Ryan Campbell pulled one back for Dergview in the second period.