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Glenavon 1 Portadown 0: Marshall should be starring in full-time game, insists Millar

Glenavon 1 Portadown 0

By Billy Weir

Published 03/10/2016

On the slide: Rhys Marshall attempts to tackle Ports ace Stephen Hughes
On the slide: Rhys Marshall attempts to tackle Ports ace Stephen Hughes

Rhys Marshall is fast becoming one of the first names on the Glenavon team sheet but assistant manager Paul Millar would love to see him away from Mourneview Park.

Just in case fans of the Lurgan Blues fear a fall-out, it is more of a love-in as Marshall once again showed his versatility with an exceptional display at centre-back against Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown, in a side minus several regulars in that position.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 player looked like he'd played there for years and Millar finds it difficult to believe that he is still plying his trade in the Danske Bank Premiership.

"Rhys Marshall is probably one of the best players in the country. How that wee lad isn't in England playing I will never know, he can play anywhere," said Millar.

"For us he has been man of the match at right-back, right wing, centre midfield, centre-half and left-back and we said to him last year 'have you ever played up front?' and he said 'aye, I scored two'.

"He's only 21 and still has a chance of getting away, he just plays every week. He doesn't complain, he just gets out there and does it and how he hasn't got away I just don't know."

As for the match itself, it will not last long in the memory, Kevin Braniff scoring from close range in the 65th minute just moments after Alan Byrne had smacked the post at the other end for the Ports, who were forced to play the entire second half with 10 men after Brendan Shannon's nonsensical sending-off.

For Portadown it was another kick in the teeth and with their appeal against the 12-point deduction for alleged off-field antics due to be heard this week, it was another dip in the roller-coaster ride for manager Pat McGibbon.

"This week the appeal is going on but in the changing room we just have to concentrate on training well on Tuesday and Thursday, having our shape and getting a result to get us kick-started," he said.

"I was really pleased with the effort and the attitude, as a group they understood that they put everything into that game."

Glenavon: Tuffey, McGrory, Cooper (Patton, 48 mins), Marshall, Kelly, Martyn, Hall, Sykes, Braniff, Bradley, McCourt (Bates, 78 mins). Unused subs: Hamilton, Marron, Taylor.

Portadown: McGaughey, Carson, Rodgers (Hughes, 60 mins), Breen, Oman, Byrne, Shannon, Garrett, Haire (Ferris, 78 mins), Henderson (Rooney, 78 mins), Parker. Unused subs: Miskelly, Simpson.

Referee: Evan Boyce (Comber)

Man of the match: Rhys Marshall

Match rating: 3/10

Belfast Telegraph

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