Portadown 0-2 Cliftonville
Joe Gormley netted in either half as Cliftonville concluded their pre-split Danske Bank Premiership schedule with a convincing victory over Portadown at Shamrock Park this evening.
After rewarding the Reds’ bright start with a 30th minute header from Jonny Addis’ defence-splitting pass, Gormley sealed the deal with just over a quarter of an hour remaining when he supplied an emphatic finish to Paul O’Neill’s assist.
Earlier in the night, O’Neill had been the first player on the park to go close to opening the scoring only for Jethren Barr to keep his low drive out, while Levi Ives’ attempt in the aftermath was blocked and cleared.
Stephen Teggart and Adam Salley both threatened for the Ports without troubling goalkeeper Luke McNicholas before O’Neill saw a fierce blast blocked on the line by Greg Hall at the other end.
Barr then repelled a long-range attempt from Gormley but it wouldn’t be long before the striker broke the deadlock; his header from Addis’ raking pass catching the keeper in no man’s land.
The home stopper came out on top when the duo next went head-to-head before the first-half ended with Salley slicing a shot out for a throw-in.
Cliftonville started the second period with purpose and pinned the Ports back in the early stages without ever really fashioning a clear opening, although Gormley did go close with an acrobatic strike from Daniel Kearns’ cross.
The momentum the Reds were building always looked likely to yield a second goal and so it proved when Gormley did well to unsettle the home defence before getting on the end of O’Neill’s nod on to lash past Barr from close range.
Gormley’s chance for a hat-trick was deflected wide by Hall and he was also unable to make full contact with a Conor McDermott delivery but two goals proved enough for the three points to send the Red Army back down in the road in jubilant mood.
Cliftonville: McNicholas, McDermott (Foster, 89 mins), Ives, R Curran, O’Neill, Addis, Gormley (C Curran, 89 mins), Turner, C Gallagher, Coates, Kearns (Doherty, 89 mins). Unused subs: McKenna, Harney, Hale, Donnelly.