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Resilient Glenavon make a big point against Portadown in mid-Ulster derby

Portadown 2-2 Glenavon

By Ian Callender

Two goals in the last 10 minutes gave Glenavon a point from a typically feisty mid-Ulster derby, with Portadown ending the game with 10 men.

Goals from the Portadown strike force of Darren Murray - from the penalty spot - and Gary Twigg had given the home side the advantage early in the second-half but a triple substitution by Glenavon swung the game the visitors' way.

Eoin Bradley pulled one back and when Sean Mackle was sent off for showing his studs in a tackle with Andy Kilmartin, Gary Hamilton's free-kick found the head of James Singleton, whose header looped into the net for the equaliser.

Glenavon almost won it in stoppage time but Miskelly denied Bradley at his near post, and Portadown have now won only one of their last six Premier League games.

All eyes were on the Portadown team-sheet to see Ronnie McFall's reaction to the horror defensive show in the 3-3 draw against Dungannon on Saturday but he made only two changes and one of them was enforced as Chris Casement's wife was about to give birth.

He was replaced at right-back by Jake Richardson. Gary Breen, who scored one of the goals on Saturday, was the central defender who made way for returning captain Keith O'Hara.

Kevin Braniff went closest for Glenavon in the early stages, a shot from 25 yards, which David Miskelly found too hot to handle but there was no-one following up.

Jonathan Tuffey was the busier of the two goalkeepers but he dealt comfortably with a succession of crosses and long throws from Murray.

It was the Ports striker who thought he had scored in the 15th minute when his 30-yard shot crashed against the underside of the crossbar but without goal-line technology, referee Arnold Hunter waved play on.

Glenavon fans behind the goal appealed for a penalty in stoppage time when Michael Gault brought down Joel Cooper on the edge of the area but Hunter said the contact was inches the wrong side of the line.

It was the Portadown supporters who were applauding the official's decision to award a spot-kick in the 53rd minute when Mackle's cross hit the hand of Kris Lindsay a matter of yards away, and Murray sent Tuffey the wrong way.

Three minutes later, the home team had doubled their advantage when Lindsay missed a through ball from Murray and Twigg arrowed his shot into the far corner of the net from 15 yards - a superb finish

Glenavon's triple substitution came in the 66th minute and player-boss Hamilton, who came on for Braniff, almost made an instant impression, hooking a shot goalwards from Marshall's pass, only to be denied by a flying save from Miskelly.

Conor Dillon forced the Ports keeper into a point-blank save but the momentum was with the visitors and 10 minutes from time the comeback was on.

Mark Patton, another substitute, was halted in the box after a fine run from the left but the ball broke for Bradley, who thundered home a shot which went in off the upright.

Five minutes later, Mackle saw red and the punishment was doubled direct from the free-kick with Singleton's dramatic equaliser.

PORTADOWN: Miskelly; Richardson, O'Hara, Oman, Redman; McMahon (Stewart 74 mins), Gault, Garrett, Mackle; Murray, Twigg (McAllister 86 mins).

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Marshall, Dillon, Lindsay, Neill (Sykes 66 mins); Hall, Kilmartin, Singleton, Cooper (Patton 66 mins), Braniff (Hamilton 66 mins), Bradley.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).

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