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Sam Warde given penalty responsibility as Portadown end 14 month wait for spot kick

Portadown 4 Glenavon 1


Spot on: Sam Warde was a surprise penalty taker but he made no mistake

Spot on: Sam Warde was a surprise penalty taker but he made no mistake

Spot on: Sam Warde was a surprise penalty taker but he made no mistake

Fourteen months since last being awarded a penalty, the Ports had a problem.

The scorer of their last penalty, Adam Salley, was on the bench and five of the 11 on the pitch were not even with the club back in January 2020 - four of them only signed during this year's January transfer window.

It's little wonder the Portadown players didn't know who was going to step up when Ian McNabb pointed to the spot against Glenavon on Saturday.

Even Sam Warde was surprised when he was given the responsibility.

With a hop, skip and a jump the midfielder left Glenavon goalkeeper Craig Hyland sprawling, the Ports were 2-0 up in the Mid-Ulster derby and facing 10 men for 53 minutes after Lee McNulty had been sent off for the handball that led to the penalty.

"I've been practising penalties in training, but I thought Stephen Murray was going to take it," Warde revealed.

"It just happened there and then. He had the ball and threw it over to me and thankfully he did."

Lee Bonis had headed in Warde's corner 10 minutes earlier and the striker could have had a hat-trick before he slipped in Ben Guy to finish a superb move and put the Ports 3-0 up after an hour.

After Sean Ward pulled one back for Glenavon with what was the best goal of the game, cracking a shot across goal and into the top corner from the edge of the six-yard box, Chris Lavery marked his 100th appearance for the Ports with a goal to complete a 4-1 victory.

It was a day of firsts for the Shamrock Park men - their first home win of the season, a first Danske Bank Premiership victory on their own patch since April 2017 and a maiden home top-flight success for manager Matthew Tipton.

It was also the first time Warde was able to savour a win since joining the club in January. Celebrations, however, were put on ice with the focus switching immediately to Tuesday night when the Ports face ... Glenavon.

"I felt like we created a lot of chances and it was just a matter of time until we scored," said Warde. We probably could have had five or six if we had taken our chances in the second half and hopefully we can take them on Tuesday.

"We can't dwell on it too long because we go again on Tuesday. Win that and we can celebrate a bit better, but we have to take that performance into Tuesday."

A team with a sudden injection of confidence after 11 games without a win against a severely wounded animal that has now lost twice to their derby rivals this season sets up an intriguing battle tomorrow night.

The Ports might have the psychologically edge, but it is a bit of reverse psychology that Warde intends to employ as, oddly, he will treat the win like a defeat.

"We have to go into Tuesday as if we've lost and with a hunger to turn it around because that's what Glenavon will be like," he said.

PORTADOWN: Carney, Hall, Finnegan, McCallum, Scannell (Lavery 69 mins), Wilson, Warde, Guy (Teggart 82 mins), Murray (Conaty 89 mins), Bonis, Tilney. Subs not used: Buchanan, McKeown, Tipton, Salley.

GLENAVON: Hyland, Hall, McNulty, Coates, Ward, McCloskey, Garrett, O'Connor, Campbell (O'Mahony 68 mins), Purkis (A Doyle 42 mins), Fitzpatrick (McCaffrey 76 mins). Subs not used: Snoddy, Harmon, J Doyle.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

Man of the match: Eamon Scannell

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph

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