Belfast Telegraph

Portadown's set for title lift-off, says Ross Redman

By Stuart McKinley

Ross Redman has admitted that he feared Portadown's December woes were going to carry over into the new year before Michael Gault's crucial late winner against Institute on Monday night.

Gault crashed home a 20-yard stunner in the 90th minute to give the Ports a 2-1 victory, which saw them move to within two points of Crusaders at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

It is now two wins in succession for Ronnie McFall's men after beating Coleraine 2-1 on New Year's Day, but before that they drew with Glenavon and lost to both Linfield and Warrenpoint Town - results which prevented them from entering 2015 as league leaders.

And that made the win against Stute even more vital.

"Nearly every game that we've played over the last month or more has had a bit of late drama - thankfully this time it went in our favour," said Redman.

"We had all the play and pressure in the second half and after they equalised we were in the ascendancy.

"I always felt that we were in control of the game, but the thought does start to creep in that you might run out of time and let the points slip.

"After the points we dropped over December and the other teams dropping points at the weekend it was really important that we got the win."

The win was also crucial for the Ports given their run of fixtures coming up over the next six weeks, which sees them face title rivals Crusaders, Cliftonville and Linfield within the space of a month.

Cliftonville last night signed former Shamrock Rovers midfielder Robert Bayly.

The 26-year-old, who has also had spells with Leeds United, Bohemians and Shelbourne, arrives at Solitude with League of Ireland and FAI Cup winners medals to his name as well as being capped at U19 level for the Republic.

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