Belfast Telegraph

Edgy Glentoran and Portadown cancel each other out

Glentoran 1-1 Portadown

By David Mason

Darren Murray rescued Portadown in this Danske Bank Premiership bore at the Oval.

The 24-year-old blasted home a spot-kick to earn Ronnie McFall's team a point after David Scullion had shot Glentoran into an early lead.

Those were the highlights of a totally forgettable 90 minutes. Yes, both sides had opportunities to win it, but there was a distinct lack of conviction in front of goal.

Glens boss Eddie Patterson made two changes to the team that was beaten by Crusaders at the weekend, drafting in defender Barry Holland, back from a holiday in the United States, and Kym Nelson in place of Jordan Stewart and the injured Willie Garrett.

McFall was also forced to reshape his side following the scoreless result at Coleraine, handing new signing Michael Gault his first league start and bringing in Chris Ramsey to replace the suspended Keith O'Hara.

It was McFall's men who made the positive start with Mark McAllister and Chris Casement combining on the right and, following the defender's curling cross, goalkeeper Aaron Hogg was quickly off his line to deny the in-rushing Sean Mackle.

Robert Garrett and Peter McMahon carved out an opening for McAllister on six minutes and just as he was about to pull the trigger, Calum Birney came in with a last-ditch tackle.

But Glentoran swept into the lead on 15 minutes with that Scullion strike.

Goalkeeper David Miskelly was out of luck after producing a wonderful save from Fra McCaffrey, only to see Scullion gobble up the scraps to thump low into the net.

Hogg was forced into action again on 23 minutes, leaping to his left to clutch a Garry Breen header. The Ports should have been level three minutes later when a piece of trickery on the edge of the box by McAllister created a chance for Casement, who poked his effort wide.

Glentoran responded with a penetrating McCaffrey dash down the left. His cross looked destined for the boot of Curtis Allen until Ross Redman took charge.

Hogg produced a wonder save to deny McMahon on 38 minutes, catapulting to the right to claw away the volley.

Portadown were not to be denied – they were level two minutes later. McAllister was tripped just inside the box by Birney and referee Andrew Davey pointed to the spot.

Murray despatched his effort emphatically into the top corner.

McAllister was only inches from shooting the Ports into the lead on 58 minutes, picking up a Murray cross before rippling the side netting with a low drive.

Garrett almost won it in the last minute, but Hogg pushed to safety. Other than that, the second half was a total non-event.

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