It’s been almost 8 months since Portadown last played a competitive game at Shamrock Park and over 3.5 years since our last home game in the Premiership, a 1-0 win against Ballinamallard Utd with a goal from Ross Larkin in April 2017.
Tomorrow we welcome Coleraine to Shamrock Park for our opening home Danske Bank Premiership fixture, both clubs are coming off opening day derby games with Coleraine losing 1-0 to Ballymena Utd while Portadown were 4-2 victors over neighbours Glenavon at Mourneview Park.
You have to go back to February 2016 for Portadown’s last competitive victory over Coleraine, a 3-1 win at Shamrock Park in the Irish Cup thanks to goals from Ken Oman, Gary Twigg and Philip Lowry. In league matters it’s New Years Day 2015 since the Ports sealed all 3 points against Coleraine, a 1-0 at the Showgrounds thanks to a Mark McAllister header while the last league win against the Bannsiders at Shamrock Park was a 2-0 win back 14 December 2013 with goals from Chris Ramsey and Gary Twigg. In fact Coleraine have won the last 7 (one of these being an automatic 3-0 win) Premiership meetings between the sides.
Coleraine are coming off a hugely impressive European campaign which seen them progress to the second qualifying round of the Europa League following victories over La Fiorita & Maribor before eventually losing out to Motherwell on penalties, this European form was a continuation of a tremendous 19/20 Irish League campaign which seen them finish runners up in the Premiership and lifting the League Cup.
Coleraine haven’t rested on their laurels however and added to their ranks during the prolonged pre season bringing in Gareth Deane and Curtis Allen on permanent deals while Howard Beverland rejoined the Bannsiders after a spell at Crusaders and Evan Tweed and Ronan Wilson arrived from Institute and Cliftonville respectively. Coleraine have a few familiar faces to Portadown supporters in their ranks in the shape of former Ports Stephen Douglas and Aaron Traynor – Douglas a ever present in the Portadown side who won the Premiership back in 2002.
The last time the two clubs met was back in January 2017 with Coleraine running out 4-2 winners at the Showgrounds, Ports had took the lead through a sensational volley from Adam Foley with Alan Byrne then heading in an equaliser for the Ports to bring it to 2-2 before Coleraine went on to seal the game.
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton spoke to the Portadown media team ahead of tomorrows game and had the following to say:
Finally we get back to playing at Shamrock Park in the Premiership which for the fans must seem like an eternity since the last game three & a half years ago.
We come into this tough game against Coleraine on the back of a very pleasing victory last week against Glenavon but that game is history now & since about 10pm last Saturday my focus has been on preparing for this game. We have had 3 good sessions this week & I’m looking forward to seeing how we fare against one of the top teams in the country.
Seeing the news filter out last night about fans maybe not being allowed in for a few weeks after tomorrow’s game I urge everyone to get behind us & probably more importantly please follow the guidelines that are in place. Ronnie Thompson & his team have worked over & above to ensure that we are allowed fans in so if it all goes well we might have a case to plead to keep fans in or even better increase the capacity.
A REMINDER THAT TOMORROWS GAME IS ALL TICKET – ALL TICKETS ARE NOW SOLD OUT FOR THE GAME SO PLEASE DON’T COME TO SHAMROCK PARK IF YOU HAVEN’T A TICKET TO ATTEND
MATCH SPONSOR – Mercedes Benz Portadown
BALL SPONSOR – Richhill Reds Supporters Club
PSS MAN OF THE MATCH SPONSOR – EDEN REDS
Tomorrows game will be live streamed by WeArePortsTV LIVE via https://www.247.tv/niprem
The officials are – Referee –Keith Kennedy / Assistant 1 – Stephen Donaldson / Assistant 2 – George Argyropoulos / 4th official – Ross Dunlop
Last Five Head to Head
Saturday 14 January 2017 – Coleraine 4 (Lyons 2, McCafferty, McCauley) Portadown 2 (Foley, Byrne)
Saturday 15 October 2016 – Portadown 0 Coleraine 1 (Lyons)
Saturday 12 March 2016 – Portadown 0 Coleraine 1 (Brown)
Saturday 6 February 2016 – Portadown 3 (Oman, Twigg, Lowry) Coleraine 1 (McLaughlin)
Saturday 7 November 2015 – Coleraine 4 (McCauley 3, McLaughlin) Portadown 0