Portadown returned to top of the Danske Irish Premiership but were forced to come from behind to defeat Glentoran 2-1 with former Bohemians midfielder, Peter McMahon, grabbing the late winner.
The visiting Glentoran side were looking for their first win in four games and took the lead just before the hour mark when Marcus Kane superbly volleyed across David Miskelly for only their fourth away goal of the season. The Portadown equaliser came twelve minutes later as Gary Twigg’s impressive start to the season continued as he headed home a Ryan McStay corner.
The former Shamrock Rovers man then turned provider, as the clock ticked down, when his header could only be tipped onto the cross bar by Elliot Morris and McMahon was on hand to tap in a dramatic winner. There was still time for Glentoran defender Callum Birney to be sent off for a reckless challenge as tempers flared on both sides in what is a fixture with a history of bad blood.
The Ports replaced their mid-Ulster rivals, Glenavon, at the top of the table after the Lurgan based side were convincingly defeated 3-0 by Crusaders at Seaview. Glenavon made the journey to Belfast on the back of a four game winning run but were second best all afternoon as Crusaders look to be rediscovering the form that saw them finish runners up last year. They took the lead on the half hour mark when Timmy Adamson coolly finished from inside the penalty area for his fourth goal of the season.
The introduction of Jordan Owens for Declan Caddell on 64 minutes proved to be the pivotal moment of the game as his aerial presence led to the second goal four minutes later as he rose to head home Paul Leeman’s cross. He then added another headed goal with four minutes remaining to push Stephen Baxter’s men into sixth place with a north Belfast derby against Cliftonville next Saturday to come.
The Champions are down to fourth as their somewhat erratic start to the season continued with a hard fought 1-1 draw away to Dungannon Swifts in Stangmore Park. The Swifts had goalkeeper David Buchannan to thank for keeping them in the game with an inspired performance in the opening hour when he produced a string of top quality saves to deny Martin Donnelly, in particular, but the Swifts capitalised on a mistake by his opposite number Conor Devlin to take the lead on 64 minutes.
The normally reliable Reds shot stopper hopelessly misjudged the flight of Matt Hazely’s free kick and could only bat it in to the path of the inrushing Darren Boyce who stooped low to head past the stranded Devlin. Cliftonville went in search of an equaliser and were rewarded eight minutes later as substitute Ciaran Caldwell finally found a way past the outstanding Buchannan at the second attempt. Both sides could have won it in the dying minutes with Martin Donnelly firing just past the post and Darren Boyce’s vicious drive suffering the same fate shortly after.
Peter Thompson’s injury time goal kept the Linfield bandwagon rolling as they overcame nine-man Coleraine in Windsor Park. It was the Blues fifth league victory in a row and after a stuttering start they have now moved ominously into third place, just a point behind leaders Portadown.
The Bannsiders are now in seventh place after losing three of their last four games and their cause was not helped against Linfield with the second half dismissal of defenders Howard Beverland and Steven Douglas for second bookable offences.
Ballinamallard United’s dismal start to their second campaign in the top flight continued as they succumbed to a 4-1 defeat to newly promoted Ards at Dixon Park. Former Longford Town midfielder Jason McCartney gave the Mallards the lead but two goals by William Faulkner and a stunning volley from Ryan Henderson helped Ards to their second league win of the season.
The victory was not enough to move Ards off the bottom of the division as fellow strugglers Warrenpoint Town also recorded a victory with a 0-1 win over Ballymena United who lie in ninth position on ten points.