Belfast Telegraph

Fantastic Braniff lifts the gloom for Portadown

By Kevin Hughes Jr

Dungannon Swifts 0 Portadown 1: Portadown banked their first points of the season, thanks to a splendid finish from Kevin Braniff three minutes into the second half of a competitive derby clash at Stangmore Park.

Dungannon started impressively with a couple of Portadown old boys causing problems for their former team.

On 40 seconds Ryan McCluskey had a 25-yard free-kick pushed over by David Miskelly — with an even better save from the Portadown keeper following on seven minutes.

A pass from Craig McClean put Johnny Topley in ahead of Chris Ramsey with a low drive from the midfielder superbly parried by Miskelly before Niall Henderson’s 20-yard follow-up just rose too high.

Three minutes after the break, Portadown took the lead when Clarke again provided, this time passing to Braniff. With plenty still to do, he held off a couple of defenders before curling a delightful 18 yard shot beyond the reaches of keeper Sean O’Neill.

The Ports could have doubled their advantage when ex-Swift Neill McCafferty hit a trademark 25-yard free. The ball cleared the home wall but was tracked well by the keeper who pushed the ball over the bar.

The visitors should have scored again with ten minutes remaining. Braniff headed on for substitute Jordon Baker, but the goalward header was weak and easily saved.

Swifts finished with ten men, Henderson dismissed for a late challenge on Henry McStay.

With the extra man, Portadown had few problems exploiting the extra space.

A sweeping move out of defence ended with a Braniff shot from 30 yards after spotting the keeper off his line, but his effort landed on the roof of the net.

And in injury time Braniff broke clear of the Dungannon defence but, when bearing down on goal, he beat the keeper but watched as his effort slid off the far post and fell wide.

Dungannon Swifts: O’Neill, Fitzpatrick, McCaffrey, McMinn, McClean, Henderson, McCluskey, Ward, Coney, Topley, Adamson. Subs: McIlmoyle for Coney 72, McAliskey, Murphy, McCann for Topley 72, Forker for McMinn 73

Portadown: Miskelly, Ramsey, Redman, O’Hara, Kelly, Boyle, Clarke, Braniff, Mouncey, Lecky, McCafferty. Subs – Armstrong, Teggart for Boyle 89, Baker for Leckey 79, McCullough, McStay for Clarke 65

Referee: Hugh Carvill (Belfast)

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