It was easier than the scoreline suggested as a suddenly-in-form Portadown swept aside old rivals Glenavon.
A litany of missed chances and a splendid afternoon by Glenavon goalkeeper Davy O'Hare kept it within bounds in a game where Portadown could have netted six or seven.
Striker Darren Murray, who scored the second – and the best – of the three goals, said: "I'm disappointed I didn't score a hat-trick. Davy O'Hare made two super saves from me in the last 10 minutes and I put a couple off-target when I could have scored.
"We gave their defence a hard time and the goals we did score were rather special."
The first was a solo effort on 12 minutes when Sean Mackle powered 40 yards down the right and beat O'Hare, low and hard to his left, to set the Ports on their way.
Murray's effort came just before the break when Chris Casement chipped over the static Glenavon defence and Murray executed a sublime lob over the stranded 'keeper to make it 2-0.
Kevin Braniff added the third on the hour.
Glenavon pulled one back 10 minutes from time, when Ciaran Martyn slammed home, but the tide was turned when Robbie McDaid clattered into Portadown goalkeeper David Miskelly and he was shown the red card by referee Arnold Hunter.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton said: "It was ludicrous decision. We gave as good as we got for most of the game, but our defence went to sleep too often and gave away all three goals."
Ports boss Ronnie McFall said: "We've have a real chance of making the top six, with three games to go. We need maximum points and hope Coleraine slip up."