Shannon strike sees Glenavon beat Portadown
Glenavon 1 Portadown 0: Glenavon snatched a sensational last gasp winner to end the agony of not having beaten Mid-Ulster rivals Portadown in a league game at home since 1999.
And the unlikely hero was little known Brendan Shannon, signed from Donegal Celtic in the January transfer window.
There were only three minutes of a pulsating derby remaining when the full-back raced forward, cut inside and let fly.
His shot took a wicked deflection and spun over the head of flat-footed keeper David Miskelly.
It was just reward for a man-of-the-match performance from the Shannon who was mobbed by colleagues.
His effort made it two wins in a row for the Lurgan outfit who go top of the league at least until later today.
It was a titanic struggle with the Ports surviving two penalty claims and a Jay Magee header which crashed against the bar.
Naturally no quarter was asked or given. Tackles rained in and it took Ross Redman only four minutes to fall foul of referee Des Loughrey in what was always going to be a feisty showdown in the first derby clash of the season.
Redman over stepped the mark with a wild tackle on James Costello and Loughery flashed a yellow card in the hope of calming things down.
Redman must then have heaved a mighty sigh of relief after Mark Miskimmin tumbled in the box in the 15th minute. For a brief second it looked as if Loughrey was pointing to the spot which brought the home fans in the bumper crowd to their feet in anticipation, but he was merely signalling that Redman had played the ball.
Portadown gradually seized the initiative and were dangerous in lightning breaks, however home keeper Andrew Plummer was in inspired form to keep Marty Quinn’s troops in the picture.
Even so Kevin Braniff will be kicking himself for not cashing in with a header from Wesley Boyle’s right wing corner.
Braniff had a clear header due to slack marking, but he sent it over the top. He then missed again from another Boyle corner as the Ports increasingly threatened to break the deadlock.
Then it was Boyle’s turn to have a go, but Plummer produced a brave block and immediately reacted to deny Ally Teggart.
Glenavon created few chances. The nearest they came to scoring was when keeper David Miskelly completely misjudged Stuart King’s free-kick.
Darren Kelly and Conor Walsh followed Redman into the referee’s book as the game maintained its competitive edge and Portadown survived further claims for a penalty when Tony Grant swivelled and unleashed a goal bound shot which was knocked down by the defender, but referee Loughrey was having none of it.
Glenavon went close to scoring in the 71st minute when Magee thumped a header against Miskelly’s bar from Kyle Neill’s corner. The rebound fell to Costello, but his header was far too high.
Redman was walking a tightrope and might have picked up a second yellow for a foul on Shannon. That sparked a tussle which resulted in a stand off between Costello and Mouncey.
Loughrey showed no mercy however in the 76th minute when home skipper Walsh, booked earlier, slid in late on Redman and was promptly shown a red card.
GLENAVON: Plummer; Shannon, Magee, McDonagh, Neill; Costello (Johnston 76 mins), Walsh, Harpur, King (Harper 84 mins); Miskimmin (Molloy 55 mins), Grant. Subs: Windrum (GK), Haughey
PORTADOWN: Miskelly; Ramsey, Kelly, O’Hara, Redman (Mackle 80 mins); Boyle, McCafferty, McStay, Teggart; Braniff, Mouncey. Subs: Armstrong (GK), Haire, Paget, McCullough.
Referee: Des Loughrey (Limavady).