Goal keeping is an unforgiving position where mistakes are magnified many times and so it was for Newry’s keeper Kieran Gordon on Friday night against Portadown. A calamitous start for Gordon after only three minutes when he allowed the tamest of shots from Chris Lavery to squirm between his hands and legs and trickle over the line to put the visitors a goal up.
To compound matters five minutes into the second half history was to repeat itself. Once again it was Lavery, this time from a hotly disputed free kick on the edge of the penalty area.
And again there looked to be little threat to the Newry goal as Gordon got down on one knee to collect a weak effort only for the unthinkable to happen for a second time as the ball slipped under his body and trickle over the line for a goal which Newry never recovered from.
Between these goals Newry were the better team. With 18 minutes gone they came close to scoring when Decky Carvilles low shot rattled off the base of John Connollys post, Adam McCallan beating Mark McCabe in a race for the rebound.
The home side drew level on the half hour mark from a rehearsed corner routine, Keith Johnston playing a short corner with Mark Hughes before whipping in a near post cross for which John Boyle rose highest to punch his header into the back of the net. Newry almost grabbed a deserved lead before the break, Kevin McArdle and Carville working an opportunity for Johnston, the winger shooting across goal with the outside of his right foot, Connolly diving full length to tip the ball around the post.
If Newry had the better of the first half Portadown showed their intent from the start of the second, the half minutes old when Stefan Lavery was most unfortunate to hit the junction of post and crossbar with a curling shot from outside the box with Gordon beaten. The game, however, was over as a contest before the hour mark. Following on from Lavery’s second goal on 50 minutes, the manner of which was a particularly cruel body blow to the Newry team, any chance of a Newry comeback was extinguished by a moment of quality from Peter Duffin on 58 minutes, dancing through successive Newry tackles on the edge of the box before drilling a low shot past Gordon to put Portadown 3-1 up.
On 78 minutes the visitors added gloss to the scoreline, Adam Salley getting behind the Newry defence, his shot parried by Gordon but only as far as Kevin Amuneke who fired home through a crowd of players from 15 yards to seal a miserable evening for Newry.
Next Saturday, Newry City travel to Harland & Wolff Welders the Newry City Travel club will be departing from the Stonebridge at 1pm sharp all are welcome.
Newry City AFC: Gordon, McArdle, Cunningham (Havern 68), Mullen (Patton 8), Boyle, McCann, S Hughes, Carville, McCabe, Johnston (Walker 77), M Hughes
Subs not used: Mackin, Mallon
Portadown: Connolly, Carson, Brennan, McCallan, McVey, Kilmartin, McCullough, Hazley (Duffin 31), S Lavery (Amuneke 70), C Lavery, Salley (Holmes 84)
Subs not used: Larkin, Henderson
Photographs Courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography.