A youthful Portadown side defeated Dollingstown on Tuesday evening 2-0 in the second round of the Mid Ulster Cup at Shamrock Park.
Manager Matthew Tipton gave Jack Ovens, Charlie McCrory, Mikey Wood, Johnny McCullough, Isaac Baird, Joe Williamson and Noah McCann all their first senior appearances in a Portadown shirt as well as starts for teenagers Reece Jordan, Harry Murphy and Tommy Smyth who already had some minutes at first team level.
The first goal of the evening came on 9 minutes when a free kick delivery from Sam Warde found 15 year old Charlie McCrory with a header to put Portadown one goal in front.
On 14 minutes, Portadowns Johnny McCullough had a curling shot from just inside the box blocked by Dollingstowns Mark Stewart.
From the resulting corner, defender Harry Murphy got himself on the scoresheet when Tommy Smyths header was deflected into the defenders path allowing him to tap into the back of the net to make it 2-0 to Portadown.
Soon after on 17 minutes, Tommy Smyth had another header from a corner deflect off Dollingstowns Elliot Rea.
On 21 minutes, Ports captain Reece Jordan found a pocket of space in the box before having his shot deflected into the side netting by former Ports midfielder David McCullough. Adam Salley would head wide from the resulting Sam Warde corner.
On 27 minutes, the visitors had a good opportunity when a through ball from Nathan McConnell found Sheelan Fegan in the box who forced a save from close range from Jethren Barr.
Soon after Dollingstown would have a shot come off the post when a Mark McCabe ball found former Ports youth player Daniel Gordon, whose shot came off Jethren Barr’s left post and was gathered by the keeper who was making his first start for the club at senior level.
The visitors would have a good opportunity when Nathan McConnell picked up the ball on the left side before having a dangerous cross to Mark McCabe cut out by Ports defender Harry Murphy.
On 33 minutes, a good ball into the box from Jay Gardiner for the visitors was cut out by Portadowns Tommy Smyth before Sheelan Fegan could make contact.
On 38 minutes a Johnny Kernaghan ball found the feet of former Newry striker Mark McCabe, who failed to make a good connection on his shot that was easily gathered by Jethren Barr.
On 43 minutes Mark McCabe for the visitors played a deft ball through to Daniel Gordon who forced a close range save from Jethren Barr in what was a good opportunity for Dollingstown to pull a goal back on the brink of half time.
Half time score:
Portadown 2 (McCrory 9’, Murphy 15’)
On 54 minutes the visitors had an opportunity when Sean Toman found Johnny Kernaghan with a pass whose shot didn’t trouble Jethren Barr.
On 65 minutes, Portadown had an opportunity when Johnny McCullough dispossessed Elliott Rea, who then would stick the ball in the net following a link up with Sam Glenfield, however it was ruled out for offside.
On 68 minutes, Daniel Gordon had an angled free kick from the edge of the box sting the palms of Jethren Barr in the Portadown goal.
On 83 minutes, as the game drew to a close, good interplay between Sam Glenfield and Joe Williamson saw substitute Isaac Baird head wide from Williamson’s cross under pressure from Dollingstowns Matthew Taylor.
On 84 minutes, a good touch from Sam Glenfield to control a Jethren Barr goalkick saw the young striker shoot wide from distance.
On 86 minutes, Keith Johnston down the right side picked out Johnny Kernaghan before having a shot fail to hit the target as the visitors searched for a goal to reduce their deficit.
On 89 minutes, substitute Noah McCann almost got himself on the scoresheet for Portadown, going on a good run before David McCulloughs touch on the ball allowed Dollingstown keeper Buchanan to gather the ball.
The full time whistle blew to secure an impressive victory for a young Portadown side against what was quite an experienced Dollingstown side.
We will play Warrenpoint Town at Shamrock Park in the Quarter Final of the Mid Ulster Cup with the game being played on Tuesday 12 October with a 7:45pm kick off.
Full time score:
Portadown 2 (McCrory 9’, Murphy 15’)
We are in action this Saturday again against Linfield at Shamrock Park with kick off at 3pm. You can buy your tickets here
Referee: Stewart Long
1st Assistant: Jamie Patterson
2nd Assistant: Niall Devlin
#WeArePortsTV Live stream commentators were Dave Wiggins and Dollingstown legend Aaron Moffett.
Portadown XI (managed by Matthew Tipton): 19.Barr (GK), 27.Smyth, 32.J McCullough, 34.Warde (replaced by Williamson 63’), 36.Ovens, 38.Wood, 39.McCrory (replaced by McCann 75’), 41.Murphy, 42.Jordan (C), 45.Glenfield, 51.Salley (replaced by Baird 63’)
Substitutes: 33.Johnston (GK) (unused), 26.Henning (unused), 37.McCann, 47.Creighton (unused), 48.Rusk (unused), 49.Williamson, 50.Baird
Dollingstown XI (managed by Stephen Uprichard): 1.Buchanan (GK), 3.McConnell (C), 6.Fegan (replaced by Barr 50’), 7.Rea (replaced by Taylor 75’), 8.D McCullough (booked 54’), 11.McCabe (replaced by Johnston 75’), 12.Toman, 14.Gordon, 15.Stewart, 17.Kernaghan, 20.Gardiner
Dollingstown substitutes: 10.K Johnston, 13.Croft (unused), 16.Taylor, 19.Hand (unused), 21.Barr
Written by Alex Morrison.