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Matthew Tipton signs long-term Portadown extension as Championship leaders maintain six point advantage

 

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Staying put: Matthew Tipton has signed a new deal

Staying put: Matthew Tipton has signed a new deal

�INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Staying put: Matthew Tipton has signed a new deal

Portadown have handed manager Matthew Tipton a three-year contract extension after his side battled back to maintain their lead at the top of the Bluefin Sport Championship table.

Tipton and his staff are now committed to the Shamrock Park club for the long term - until the summer of 2023 - as they fight towards their short-term goal of securing their return to the Premiership.

The Ports kept themselves six points ahead of Ballinamallard United after captain Luke Wilson struck a 95th-minute equaliser in a 3-3 draw with the Mallards that had almost everything.

Adam Salley struck twice to put Portadown 2-0 up with just 17 minutes gone.

With the prospect of falling nine points behind, United staged a dramatic fightback, with Jason McCartney sparking the comeback when he pulled one back after 34 minutes.

The Fermanagh men were awarded a controversial penalty on the stroke of half time but, while Richard Clarke's spot kick was saved by goalkeeper Danny Devine, it was 2-2 at the break after Matty Smyth scored from the resultant corner.

It looked like Chris Kelly had won the game for the Mallards when he volleyed them in front on 83 minutes, but the Ports - who had hit the woodwork twice in the second-half - threw a deep free-kick into the box deep in injury time and Wilson hammered home the dramatic last-gasp equaliser.

"It was a great feeling when the ball hit the net," said Wilson. "It was such an important game and to keep the six-point gap at the top of the table is vital.

"Before the game we'd have taken a point. We just wanted to make sure we kept the six point gap and we've done that."

Third-placed Loughgall needed a late equaliser from Peter Campbell to take a point at Dundela after Jordan Morrison's early opener.

Harland & Wolff Welders were the biggest scorers of the day, hitting six past Knockbreda after going 2-0 down in the first half.

Matthew Ferguson struck either side of half-time to bring the Welders level and, after Brandon Nelson put them ahead, Ross Arthurs piled on the agony for Breda with a hat-trick in the space of five minutes.

Conor McCaul scored the only goal as Newry City beat Queen's University 1-0, while second-half strikes from Gary Donnelly and Joe Tully gave Ballyclare Comrades victory over Dergview.

On Friday night, PSNI's new manager Glenn Taggart got his reign off the perfect start with a 1-0 victory at Ards, with Tony Tumelty the scorer.

RESULTS: Ards 0 PSNI; Ballyclare Com 2 Dergview 0; Dundela 1 Loughgall 1; Portadown 3 Ballinamallard Utd 3; Knockbreda 2 H&W Welders 6; Queen's University 0 Newry City 1.

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