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Portadown 4 Coleraine 0

Portadown are 11 points behind league leaders Crusaders — the team they host next Saturday — but two-goal hero Kevin Braniff believe the Ports aren’t out of the title race yet.

And with 11 points from their 11 matches so far, Braniff is convinced the Ports can leg it up the table.

After netting two beauties in this Jackyll and Hyde sort of game — awful first-half, superb second period — the talented striker said: “Any team in this league can beat any other. It’s wide open. There’s little to choose between any of them.

“It has taken Portadown a few weeks to get used to the pace after spending last season in the Championship and this could be the result to get us going.

“Two or three wins in a row could put us up their challenging.”

It took 50 minutes for this one to get going — the time of Braniff’s first goal, for which he gave much of the credit to striking partner Gary McCutcheon.

“Gary headed an Alan Teggart cross perfectly into my path and I did the rest.”

His finish was a wonderful strike with the outside of his right boot that left Coleraine keeper Davy O’Hare rooted to the spot and sparked Portadown into playing superb on-the-ground football that left the Bannsiders chasing shadows.

The goal, though, was two minutes late!

An anorak in the Press box has worked out the average time of Portadown’s goals this season is 48 minutes.

Then, the goals flowed. Six minutes later, Darren Kelly met a McCutcheon corner with his head and jetted the ball into the roof of the net, and Braniff added number three when he buried a perfect cross from the right by David McCullough.

And finally a touch of comedy. Davy O’Hare played the part of the clown when he raced out of goal with the ball, passed it to young Teggart and he dispatched it home from 45 yards as the keeper could only stand and stare.

“It was defensively a terrible performance,” stormed Coleraine boss David Platt.

“One week we’re brilliant, the next week terrible, although we could have won this one had we taken our first-half chances.”

“Not so,” countered Portadown manager Ronnie McFall. “We bossed from the start.

“The problem this season has been the ball not going into the net, but Braniff’s brilliant showing changed all that.

“He has no peers in Irish League football when he’s in this mood.

“We’ve been playing well although the results haven’t reflected that. But this result could change things.”

Belfast Telegraph

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