IT was a classic no-brainer as Portadown fans handed over a big bottle of bubbly to local hero Ross Redman on Saturday after he cleared two certain ‘goals’ off the line and earned the Ports the penalty that gave them a draw they just about deserved with game Dungannon Swifts.
And, into the bargain, it was a belated gift to help him celebrate his 23rd birthday which took place on Friday, just a day before he was presented with his first-ever ‘Man of the Match’ award.
“I’m really pleased,” said the full-back. “It was a hard-earned draw. Dungannon always give us a tough match. We drew one-all with them at Stangmore earlier in the season, and I suppose we can’t complain about this one.”
The all-action Darren Murray cracked home the 24th minute spot-kick, which was rather carelessly conceded by keeper Niall Morgan who clipped Redman as he forced his way through. Redman admitted: “There wasn’t really any danger. I was too close to the by-line, but he came in rather clumsily and I was the right decision.”
It was the only real chance that Murray was given during the match, with the service from an out-of-sorts midfield rather patchy. Dungannon has the best chances, typified by the opener on 17 minutes when Chris Lavery cut an inviting ball in from the left and John Cahoon nipped in front of the defence to flick in superbly from about six yards.
That was about all that a dull first-half had to offer, and it was Redman heroics that kept the score level in the second period when he nodded away a Cameron Grieve header and then covered brilliant to repel a Cahoon shot which keeper David Miskelly could only parry.
And Cahoon was doubly frustrated when a wonderful ‘dipper’ just cleared the crossbar and brushed the roof of the net, with Miskelly only able to stand and stare.
Swifts boss Darren Murphy felt a trifle pick-pocketed. “I’m not satisfied with just the one point,” he insisted. “We deserved all three, as we came here to play football, push Portadown back and that’s what we did. We created more chances, but didn’t have the run of the ball.”
Ports manager Ronnie McFall admitted his team wasn’t firing on all cylinders. “It was a poor performance,” he added. “We were patchy and didn’t create any real service to Darren Murray up front. But the likes of Kevin Braniff and Tim Mouncey are just back from injury and aren’t match fit. And we have a couple of other players coming back from suspension and injury. These things take time.”