A goal early in the first half from Jordan Stewart saw a 1-0 defeat for Portadown against Linfield on Saturday at Shamrock Park.
The Portadown team saw five changes from Tuesdays defeat to Carrick Rangers. Greg Hall, Chris Lavery, George Tipton, Adam Salley and Stephen Teggart come in for Kevin Healy, Ben Guy, Paul Finnegan, Sam Warde and Stephen Murray.
Linfields team saw one change from their defeat on Tuesday to Ballymena United, with Navid Nasseri replacing Joel Cooper in the starting lineup.
Portadown had an early chance on 6 minutes when a Stephen Teggart shot from around 25 yards was collected by Linfield keeper Chris Johns
Soon after the away side went close through a header from Andy Waterworth which was cleared off the line by Ports defender Nathan Kerr.
On 9 minutes following a Portadown break a ball from Stephen Teggart connected with Adam Salley whose effort from an acute angle hit the side netting.
On 11 minutes the visitors went in front, following a scramble in the goalmouth Jordan Stewart would fire the ball into the roof of the net after his initial shot was blocked.
Linfield had a good opportunity to extend their lead soon after, a counter attack led by Navid Nasseri concluded with a shot from Waterworth from close range, however Jacob Carney in the Portadown goal was equal to the shot to make the save.
On 25 minutes goal scorer Stewart went close through a lobbed effort from distance which went just over the bar.
Andy Waterworth then had an opportunity just past the half hour mark when he connected his head with a Matthew Clarke cross however Carney saved well to his left.
On the 34 minute mark Portadown went close to scoring an equaliser, a looping header from Adam McCallum following a ball from Lee Bonis came off the post.
Three minutes later the away side had the ball in the net when Waterworth headed a cross from Michael Newberry into the bottom left corner, however it was then disallowed as the linesman had adjudged that the ball had went out of play.
As the first half drew to a close Portadown went close through a flicked effort from Lee Bonis which was tipped past the post by Johns after an Adam Salley cross.
Linfield 1 (Stewart 11′)
Portadown started well in the second half putting the league leaders under pressure in the push for an equaliser. On 54 minutes an attempted shot from Salley was blocked by Callagher, with Tilneys ball into the box from the rebound also blocked.
On 67 minutes Bonis controlled a cross from Teggart with his chest before hitting a half volley wide of the post.
Soon after Bonis connected well with a shot from range which was right at Johns in the Linfield goal.
On 74 minutes Stewart for the away side hit an effort from distance himself which didn’t seriously threaten Ports keeper Carney.
On 80 minutes a 45 yard free kick into the box from Millar was met with a diving header from former Ports defender Ross Larkin forcing Jacob Carney into a great save to deny the substitute.
The visitors nearly made it 0-2 on 83 minutes when defender Mark Haughey sent a header just over the bar from a free kick.
The game would finish 0-1 to Linfield as referee Ross Dunlop blew the full time whistle following three minutes of stoppage time.
Our next game is this Tuesday 28th March at home to Crusaders. Kick off will be at 7:45pm and the match will be live-streamed on https://www.247.tv/niprem
Linfield 1 (Stewart 11′)
(Game took place behind closed doors)
Match Officials – Referee – Ross Dunlop / Assistant 1 – Stephen Bell / Assistant 2 – Ken Ross / 4th official – Ben McMaster
Match Sponsor – Manfreight
Match Ball Sponsor – Paul Thompson Freight
PSS Man Of The Match Sponsor – Cecil Kerr (Lee Bonis)
Portadown XI (managed by Matthew Tipton): 52. Carney (GK), 2. Hall, 4. McCallum (replaced by Guy 90+2), 7. Lavery (replaced by Croskery 84’), 8. Tipton (replaced by McKeown 84’), 9. Salley, 10. Bonis, 16. Wilson (C), 20. Teggart, 22. Kerr, 44. Tilney
Portadown substitutes: 33. Buchanan (GK) (unused), 6. McKeown, 11. Murray (unused), 17. Croskery, 19. Guy, 21. Conaty, (unused), 23. Warde (unused)
Linfield XI (managed by David Healy): 1. Johns (GK), 4. Newberry (replaced by Larkin 66’), 5. Haughey, 6. Callagher (C), 7. Waterworth, 10. Stewart, 12. Millar, 15. Nasseri (replaced by Manzinga 74’), 16. Clarke, 31. Quinn, 35. Palmer
Linfield substitutes: 40. Moore (GK) (unused), 3. Larkin, 9. Manzinga, 25. Pepper (unused), 32. Archer (unused), 33. McCoubrey (unused), 34. Montgomery (unused)
Written by Alex Morrison.