PORTS WIN DERBY TO STAY THREE CLEAR
Portadown remain three points clear at the top of the Bluefin Sport Championship following an important Boxing Day victory over third placed Loughgall at Lakeview Park.
Loughgall thought they had got off to the ideal start when, as early as the third minute, they found the net through Nathaniel Ferris but his effort was ruled out offside.
And the Villagers had another great chance midway through the first half but Peter Campbell failed to make the most of the opportunity at the back post, with Campbell seeing another effort deflected wide by Ryan Carmichael just after the half-hour mark.
George Tipton came close for the Ports early in the second half but Loughgall keeper Gareth Buchanan did well to make the save.
Portadown began to press more with Paul Finnegan and then Lee Bonis sending efforts straight at Buchanan before, on 59 minutes, Loughgall defender Fra Brennan headed Stephen Teggart's cross against his own post.
However, Adam Salley finally found a way through after 62 minutes with a backpost header past Buchanan from Chris Lavery's well delivered cross.
Then, chasing a second, Lavery was twice denied by Buchanan with Bonis then firing just the wrong side of the right post.
Loughgall searched for the equaliser through Dale Malone, Campbell again and then substitute Jamie Douglas.
But, as the game approached the end, Bonis pounced to make sure for the Ports with a cool finish beyond Buchanan after Carmichael had teed him up from a corner.
Loughgall: Buchanan, Kerr, Rea, Brennan, Lyttle, Ferguson, Malone, S. McCullough, Ferris, Gibson, Campbell subs Soares (replaced Malone 70), Hoey (replaced Rea 85), Copeland (not used), Douglas (replaced Ferguson 75), Smith (not used)
Portadown: Edwards, Crane, Finnegan, Lavery, Salley, Tipton, Wilson, Carmichael, McNally, Teggart, Bonis subs McCallum (not used), Bradley (replaced Lavery 76), Duke (not used), McGrandles (replaced Tipton 80), Ferris (not used)