Belfast Telegraph

Missing red card was turning point: McFall

By Gordon Hanna

Ronnie McFall was left to wonder what might have been at the end of the most pulsating Mid-Ulster Boxing Day derby showdown for years.

Portadown lost to what was virtually the last kick of the match, having stormed back from two goals down at half-time.

But, while the old enemy celebrated their first festive derby win for 17 years, McFall was fuming at referee Raymond Hetherington's decision to ignore what the Portadown boss claimed was a blatant sending off offence.

There were only seven minutes on the clock when Winkie Murphy sliced a clearance and Kris Lindsay impeded Gary Twigg as the deadly Ports striker threatened to cash in.

For a furious McFall that was the big talking point and probably the turning point of the match.

The Ports boss fumed: "Twigg was straight through and Lindsay took him out. To me it was last man, red card but the referee bottled it.

"You can allow physicality but present day rules and regulations are clear cut. Twigg is clear, Lindsay takes him out so it's a red card.

"That's the bottom line. No two ways about it." If that was a big break in Glenavon's favour then Mr Hetherington did them another good turn in this season of goodwill.

With time fast running out and Glenavon pushing hard for a winner, sub David Rainey was clearly fouled but the ref allowed play to continue.

And when the ball fell kindly for sub Mark Patton the ex-Ports winger confidently put away a match-winning left-footed volley.

Little wonder McFall moaned: "It was a kick in the teeth. To have come back from two goals down then to lose it with basically the last kick was sickening."

But rival boss Gary Hamilton had no sympathy and declared: "It was nice for a change to get a late winner because since I have come to the club other teams have scored winning goals in 90 plus minutes.

"We turned round 2-0 up and maybe it should have been more but we didn't make the most of all the chances."

Hamilton and Rhys Marshall scored in the 40th and 43rd minutes respectively while Marshall also had a header against the bar, Andy McGrory rapped a post and Winkie Murphy and Lindsay had headed goals disallowed.

Peter McMahon and Darren Murray levelled the match with goals in the 49th and 56th minutes, but Ports will reflect on Murray dragging the ball clear of Andy Coleman before shooting against a post and then Twigg also taking the ball wide of Coleman before steering his shot wide.

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