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Gary Hamilton hails ‘one of the best performances’ of Glenavon reign in nine man derby win over Portadown

Portadown 0-1 Glenavon

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Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton celebrates in front of the away support at full-time. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton celebrates in front of the away support at full-time. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

PMAKER

Glenavon's Peter Campbell celebrates his winning goal against Portadown

Glenavon's Peter Campbell celebrates his winning goal against Portadown

PMAKER

Peter Campbell is sent off moments after scoring Glenavon's winning goal against Portadown

Peter Campbell is sent off moments after scoring Glenavon's winning goal against Portadown

David Maginnis PMAKER

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Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton celebrates in front of the away support at full-time. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

After waiting five years to face each other in a festive derby the Glenavon and Portadown fans were treated to little more than five minutes of excitement at a packed Shamrock Park.

It was, however, five minutes that lit up the game and ultimately shaped it — and five minutes that will last long in the memory of the Lurgan Blues as they won a Christmas time derby on their rival’s patch for the first time since 1967 with an against the odds victory, achieved with only nine men on the pitch for more than half the game.

Bar Oisin Conaty having a goal ruled out for a foul just seven minutes in it was a game that was devoid of incident before Peter Campbell shot Glenavon in front on 38 minutes.

Seconds later and without a Glenavon player touching the ball in between, he was sent off after a sliding lunge on Ports defender Greg Hall. With tension and emotions running high on the pitch, Robbie Garrett followed Campbell down the tunnel after a rough challenge on Michael Ruddy.

The half-time break allowed Glenavon to regroup, let Portadown set up plans for an onslaught, but that onslaught never came.

The 11 men didn’t move the ball quickly enough to open up a stubborn defence, failed to create a meaningful chance outside of a weak Lee Bonis header midway through the second half that James Taylor dealt with easily and never really laid a glove on a weakened opponent, let alone put them on the ropes at any stage.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton, who had his name sung by the delighted travelling fans.

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“It came into my head on Sunday how long it had been since we won on Boxing Day at Shamrock Park, I found out it was 54 years and it played in my head all night.

“I said to the players before the game that we needed to put it right. We needed to be the team to break it and thankfully they did it — and they didn’t just do it, they did it in an unbelievable way.

“It’s probably one of the best performances I have had in my time here in terms of when you take in everything that went on.”

Campbell’s finish was the game’s one real moment of quality. Sean Ward won a great tackle midway inside the Ports half, the ball broke to Matthew Fitzpatrick and after a neat exchange of passes Campbell showed great composure to finish.

The thrill of scoring turned to overexcitement when he flew in on Hall seconds after the restart and referee Keith Kennedy immediately produced the kind of card nobody wants at Christmas.

When Garrett caught Ruddy, Kennedy took his time before deciding the offence merited the same punishment as Campbell.

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Peter Campbell is sent off moments after scoring Glenavon's winning goal against Portadown

Peter Campbell is sent off moments after scoring Glenavon's winning goal against Portadown

David Maginnis PMAKER

Peter Campbell is sent off moments after scoring Glenavon's winning goal against Portadown

Glenavon, who have signed teenage forward Conor Scannell from Cliftonville, sat deep and compact, throwing out the challenge ‘can you break us down?’

Portadown, however, didn’t ask any real questions of the defence in a full 45 minutes of disappointment.

“You can’t play against nine men and not see it as an opportunity, so it is a massive opportunity missed for me,” conceded Ports boss Matthew Tipton.

“We showed a lack of quality. I don’t think we worked the goalkeeper enough, we gave them easy opportunities to clear the ball through not putting in the best of crosses or through balls.”

PORTADOWN: Barr, McKeown (E Teggart 76 mins), Hall, McCallum, Jordan (Anderson 46 mins), Warde, Ruddy, McLeod, S Teggart, Bonis, Conaty (Glenfield 82 mins).

Unused subs: Doherty, Murphy, Wood, Willis.

GLENAVON: Taylor, Ward, Birney, Wallace, Singleton, Hall (McCloskey 75 mins), O’Connor, Garrett, Campbell, Fitzpatrick, Waterworth.

Unused subs: Stafford, A Doyle, Beggs, Harmon, Hunter, J Doyle.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn).

Man of the match: Danny Wallace

Match rating: 6/10


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