With Calum Birney sitting out a one match suspension and Jay Magee still out due to injury Glentoran manager, Eddie Patterson was dealt a further blow when Willie Garrett was ruled out in the pre-match warm up. Barry Holland moved to the centre of the defence to partner Johnny Addis with Niall Henderson dropping back from midfield to occupy the right back position.
Portadown enjoyed the benefit of a strong wind in the first half and from a 4th minute corner almost went in front. Chris Casement's in-swinger was headed goalwards but a combination of Niall Henderson and Elliott Morris prevented the ball crossing the line. On 9 minutes a 30 yard shot from Peter McMahon flew narrowly over the crossbar and less than a minute later the same player made space for himself on the edge of the area but dragged his shot wide of the post. On 11 minutes the home side went in front. On an extremely bumpy surface Johnny Addis didn't get enough on a defensive clearance and the ball fell once again to McMahon. This time the Portadown number 7 made no mistake and slammed the ball past Elliott Morris. Barry Holland, who had an excellent 90 minutes, was on hand to block a Gary Twigg effort on the quarter hour mark and from the resulting corner the Glentoran defence was relieved to see Casement's cross evade everyone and go behind for a goal kick. Peter McMahon shot wide again on 17 minutes and then a 30 yard Casement effort deflected off Twigg but ran well wide of the post. As the half wore on Glentoran gradually began to create a few chances. On 28 minutes Stephen McAlorum fed Marcus Kane and he put Kym Nelson away down the left. Nelson's dangerous looking cross was just too close to David Miskelly though in the home goal.
Jordan Stewart did well to control a long free kick from Elliott Morris but his curling shot from the edge of the area went just past Miskelly's left hand post. 10 minutes from the break Portadown's defence failed to clear the ball properly and Stephen McAlorum's 30 yard drive was just inches over the bar. Right on the whistle Curtis Allen and David Scullion combined to force a corner. Niall Henderson took it and the ball eventually found its way back to him near the corner flag. As he cut inside the defender he was blocked on the edge of the box but referee Burns bizarrely deemed that there was no offence committed!
Elliott Morris came close to his first Glentoran goal last weekend when his wind assisted free kick almost deceived Dungannon Swifts keeper, Alvin Rouse. The Glens skipper went even closer with just a minute played in the second half; his free kick from midway inside the Glentoran half forcing David Miskelly to scramble it around the post for a corner. David Scullion took the set piece and again Miskelly was forced to pust the ball over his own crossbar. Although Glentoran now had the advantage of the strong wind, Portadown were still causing them problems on the break. On 58 minutes a quick free kick sent Sean Mackle clear down the right but Elliott Morris did really well to collect Mackle's dangerous cross. Just after the hour mark a Niall Henderson corner was met at the back post by Curtis Allen but Allen's header flew just past the post. Jordan Stewart and Curtis Allen then combined well to set up a chance for David Scullion but the final ball was just too strong. Kym Nelson then created another chance for Scullion (70) but his effort from the edge of the box was straight at David Miskelly. A minute later Johnny Addis was in the right place to block a shot from Gary Twigg. As we approached the last quarter hour of the game Glentoran finally grabbed a deserved equaliser. Scullion broke down the left and his excellent cross was flicked on by Kym Nelson. The ball fell to Jordan Stewart and he calmly slotted the ball past Miskelly and into the far corner of the Portadown net. McMahon's cross on 78 minutes towards Twigg was well intercepted by Addis before Stewart robbed Robert Garrett in midfield before sending a speculative shot wide of the goal. As the clock ticked down both sides went for the win. A long throw into the Portadown penalty area from Addis was met by Kane but his header went wide. A minute later Marcus Kane was in action at the other end with a fantastic tackle on the edge of the area to deny substitute Mark McAllister.
The home side almost snatched all 3 points in the final minute. Barry Holland was harshly adjudged to have fouled Twigg 25 yards from goal. Chris Casement took the free kick and was unlucky to see his effort come back off the post before being hacked clear. In stoppage time Curtis Allen had a half chance from the edge of the area but the ball bobbled as he struck for goal and the shot sailed harmlessly wide.
Highlights and reaction on BBC Sport NI HERE
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Glentoran: Morris (capt), Henderson, Kane, Holland, Addis, McAlorum, Nelson, Gordon, Scullion, Stewart & Allen.
Subs: O'Hanlon for Scullion (80) and McKee for Nelson (82). Unused: Hogg, McCaffrey & Gray.