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Portadown 3 Dundela 0

By Victor Gordon

Portadown didn’t really have to stretch themselves against the juniors from east Belfast in this chilly stroll in Shamrock Park.

Dundela gave it all they had, but that simply wasn’t enough, and they can thank a five-star showing from keeper Paul Hughes that the scoreline was kept down to three.

It was all biff-and-bash for half an hour with neither keeper much troubled by rank poor football that was more summer league than Irish League, until Portadown suddenly sprang to life with a peach of a goal from Joe McNeill.

Brian Gartland burst out of defence, pushed it to Michael McLellan who fed Sean Mackle. His shot was parried by keeper Hughes and it fell perfectly for McNeill to drill home.

That seemed to settle the Ports and Mackle (pictured) slammed home number two, five minutes later, with perfect play from McNeill and Darren Murray making it well-nigh impossible for the midfielder to miss from a couple of yards.

It was 3-0 for the Ports shortly after the interval thanks to Murray. He ran onto a great cross from Ross Redman, his first header whacked the crossbar, but it rebounded perfectly for a second nod, and he made no mistake this time.

It could have been 4-0 soon afterwards, but Hughes saved superbly from McLellan and then tipped over from a direct corner from Chris Casement.

Dundela finally achieved their first on-target effort on 61 minutes, courtesy of Mark McClelland, but it caused Ports keeper Jamie McArdle few problems.

The Ports should have made it four on 83 minutes when Murray missed a real sitter after Redman laid a perfect cross on his head.

PORTADOWN: McArdle, Mackle (Adams 75), Redman, Breen, Braniff (Lecky 60), Murray, McNeill, McLellan (R Burns 75), Casement, Gartland, A Burns. Subs: Miskelly, Ramsey.

DUNDELA: Cardwell, Davison, Faulkner, Hume, Gourley, Irwin (Cherry 53), McCain (Bowers 53), McClelland, Gilliland (Jackson 53), Roy. Subs: Murphy, Collins.

Referee: Graham McIlwrath (Newtownabbey).

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