Portadown proved too strong for a Glentoran side which finished with 9 men at Shamrock Park this afternoon. Eddie Patterson made two changes to the team which defeated Institute last week, Jonny Addis replacing the injured Jay Magee at centre back and Steven Gordon coming into the midfield in place of Kym Nelson.
The Glens made a positive start to the game with Jordan Stewart bringing a good save from David Miskelly in the Portadown goal in the third minute after some typical nifty footwork and Curtis Allen also making the ‘keeper work from a twenty yard free kick a minute later. However this morning’s league leaders gradually started to gain a foothold in the game forcing several corners with a Chris Casement free kick and an overhead kick from Darren Murray bringing good saves from Elliott Morris. The Glens continued to try to play passing football and seven minutes from the break produced one of the best moves of the game. A great run from Stewart down the right ended with him picking out David Scullion at the far post, he nodded the ball back to Fra McCaffrey but the Glens number four pulled his shot just wide. Just as it looked like being honours even at the break the home side went into the lead with a soft goal from a Glentoran point of view. A Casement free kick from his own half was allowed to bounce in the Glentoran box and Mark McAllister was left unmarked with the easy task of poking the ball past Morris from 8 yards.
After the break Portadown looked determined to extend their lead with Sean Mackle, who caused problems down Glentoran’s right all afternoon, twice having shots beaten out for corners by Morris in the opening few minutes. From the second of these the Glens rode their luck as the ball was cleared to Peter McMahon on the edge of the area and his shot looked destined for the roof of the net, only for it to deflect off Tim Mouncey’s head and over the bar. However with 53 minutes gone the Glens got themselves back on level terms. McCaffrey sent Scullion free on the right and the winger’s beautifully deft dink over the advancing Miskelly had enough on it to find its way over the line.
The Glens rode their luck once again on 61 minutes as Casement’s free kick found Mouncey just 3 yards from goal, his shot was somehow kept out by Morris but the ball fell to the Portadown captain once more and this time he contrived to send it off the post and wide. Soon afterwards at the other end Steven Gordon’s lob almost caught out Miskelly who was forced to tip the ball over the bar while Calum Birney made a great clearance with his head after McAllister had broken through. But on 77 minutes Birney turned from hero to villain as a Casement cross from the right was inexplicably handled by the young centre back and the visitors could have no complaints as the referee pointed to the spot. To compound matters Birney was shown a yellow card, his second of the game, and the Glens were down to ten men. Portadown seemed to be looking to Casement for all their set pieces and indeed it was he who stepped up to take the kick only to drag his shot wide of the post, sparking much celebration in the away stand.
At 1-1 and a man down the visiting supporters would have been very happy to settle for the point but with 7 minutes remaining Portadown grabbed the lead. Gary Twigg, on as a second half substitute for Darren Murray, picked up a Mackle pass and produced a clever finish to dash Glentoran hopes. Three minutes later the game was over as a contest when Gordon was deemed to have brought down Mouncey for another penalty. Casement stepped up once again and this time made no mistake sending Morris the wrong way. Having been mature enough to take the kick after his earlier miss, Casement decided to snub his own supporters by not celebrating in front of them but chose instead to taunt the visiting fans for which he rightly received a yellow card.
Two goals and a man down as the game entered stoppage time it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse for the Glens, but somehow they did. Stephen McAlorum, who minutes earlier had been booked for his protests about the second Portadown penalty, put in an absolutely foolish challenge on Casement on the halfway line, earning him a second yellow card and seeing the Glens finish the game with nine men.
So a disappointing day in all sorts of ways after a positive start and the side will need to bounce back at home to Ballinamallard United next Saturday, a task made all the more difficult with the loss of four first team regulars to suspension.
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Highlights on BBC Sport NI HERE
Elliott Morris, Niall Henderson, Calum Birney, Jonny Addis, Marcus Kane, David Scullion, Stephen McAlorum, Steven Gordon, Jordan Stewart (sub Danny McKee 75 mins), Fra McCaffrey, Curtis Allen