Belfast Telegraph

Portadown second best after Drogheda show teeth

Portadown 0 Drogheda United 5 (Drogheda win 8-2 on aggregate)

By Victor Gordon

A weakened Portadown team sank without trace against a talented Drogheda United at Shamrock Park on Monday night with the County Louth side moving easily into the quarter finals of the Setanta Cup.

The Ports started with a 3-2 deficit from 'Hunky Dory' Park and it was 5-2 after just 12 minutes and after that it was no contest.

Maybe the 5-0 score-line on the night slightly flattered the light blues. Portadown played gamely to the final whistle but there can be no doubt that the Southerners were far superior.

Portadown got off to a nightmare start with the Louth Men scoring in the first minute, the home side were without three of their regular back four and nobody picked up Alan Byrne at the far post when he nodded home a superb corner from Eric Foley.

And it went from bad to worse on 12 minutes when Paul O'Conor ran onto a dream pass from Gary O'Neill to coolly pop number two past Portadown keeper David Miskelly.

Portadown's first attack came midway through the half when Mark Patton broke down the left and set it up for Richard Lecky but the Drogheda defence pounced to block the effort.

And it could have been 3-0 on the night after 35 minutes when another defensive mistake allowed in O'Neill but Miskelly went full stretch to save brilliantly. Portadown almost pulled one back on the restart when Sean Mackle pushed a pass through to Darren Murphy but Drogheda keeper Gabriel Sava rushed off his line and smothered the shot.

Drogheda came within a whisker of another great goal on 55 minutes when a Gavin Brennan header struck the upright following a great cross from Philip Hand. But the big number 11 more than made amends second later when he skipped round three defenders and drilled home from six yards.

Substitute David Cassidy headed home number four with his first touch of the ball, seconds after coming on the pitch.

Drogheda rubbed salt in the wound in injury time when Hand slammed home after a great solo run to make it five.

Portadown: Miskelly, A Burns (Rooney 75), Ramsey, Mouncey (McNeill 59), Patton (McCafferty 46), Murray, Lecky, AA Burns, Braniff, Mackle, Redman. Subs- McArdle, Rooney, McCafferty, McNeill, Okunaiya, McLellan.

Drogheda United: Sava, Hand, Prendergast, O'Conor, Brady (O'Brien 69), R Brennan, O'Neill (Hynes 69), G Brennan, Grimes, Foley (Cassidy 75), Byrne. Subs- Schilingerman, Hynes, Cassidy, Gaynor, O'Brien, Marks.

Referee: P McLaughlin

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