Young Portadown fans have been tweeting all week that Glenavon haven’t won a Co Armagh ‘derby’ match in 16 years — and victory was tweet once again as the Ports added another year to that amazing record.
Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton, though, insisted that the unenviable record should have become unstuck in the Shamrock Park mud, with the Lurgan men having two offside ‘goals’ disallowed early on — Guy Bates and Ciaran Martyn were the men on target.
“The Martyn goal was, in my view, a perfectly legitimate one,” said Hamilton. “In the end, it cost us the match, but that’s the way it goes in football. I’m not here to criticise officials — just to talk about football.”
Hamilton had no qualms with the decision by referee Ross Dunlop near the break which really swung the match — the sending-off of Conor Hagan after he whipped the legs from under Richard Lecky when the big striker was almost bound to score.
True, Neil McCafferty missed the resultant penalty — a weak shot which Andy Coleman turned away to his right.
But it created loads of space for the Ports, especially Kevin Braniff, to exploit, resulting in a goal either side of the break.
And it heralded a golden spell by man-of-the-match Ross Redman, the Ports on-form left-back.
First, he scored on 42 minutes, picking up a dream pass by Braniff, turning the defence and slotting brilliantly past Coleman from close-in. And after the interval, Redman provided a superb cross from the left which Lecky flicked home with the head.
“It’s my third goal since I broke into the first team,” said Redman, “and easily the best. The first was in Europe when the ball seemed to go through the keeper, and the second — in the league — was every bit as scrappy. But I’m proud of this one.”
His uncle — manager Ronnie McFall — had mixed feeling about the result. “We should have been three up by the interval,” he claimed.
“Lecky and Sean Mackle missed a sitter each, not to mention the penalty.
“We got sloppy after the second goal, and tried to be too clever and could have paid the price when they came at us towards the end, having made their three substitutions.
“But these were three vital points in a season of injuries and senseless sendings-off.
“I think we’ve turned the corner, and with Gary Twigg (signed from Shamrock Rovers) available in January, it’ll be a different story in the New Year.”
Glenavon could have taken an early lead when Andy McGrory saw a thundering effort parried by David Miskelly, and in a final burst, Bates and McGrory saw efforts whizz past the Ports’ woodwork.
The tweets across Craigavon this week will be unchanged for another year, with the red section happy for another Yuletide season.
PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Mackle, Redman, Ramsey, Braniff, Mouncey (O’Hara 68m), McNeill, Casement, Lecky, Gartland, McCafferty. Subs not used: McArdle, Burns, McLellan, Patton.
GLENAVON: Coleman, Haughey, Kilmartin, Doherty (McCallion 46), Bates, Lindsay, Hagan, Mitchell (Hamilton 55), Turkington (Brown 71), McGrory, Martyn. Subs: McCashin, McDaid.
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Belfast).