IRISH LEAGUE: Portadown and Coleraine hand out trials as part of pre-season plans

Portadown welcome Coleraine for the first pre-season friendly of the summer at Shamrock Park.
Portadown welcome Coleraine for the first pre-season friendly of the summer at Shamrock Park.

Five first-half goals finished with Coleraine in control overall by a 3-2 margin during Portadown’s first pre-season friendly of the summer at Shamrock Park.

The Ports had Jamie McDonagh and Jude Ballard making guest appearances for Niall Currie’s squad - with the former having starting out at the club before spending time across the water and the latter on the books of teams including Loughgall and Dergview.

Coleraine, fresh from the club’s Europa League adventure, offered a trial to Scot Whiteside with the permission of Derry City.

Former Nigeria international Kevin Amuneke kicked off the scoring with a slick goal on his home debut as he took advantage of a defensive error to curl a delightful left-foot shot beyond Coleraine’s Chris Johns.

Two goals in three minutes allowed Coleraine to turn the tables and hold a 2-1 advantage.

Whiteside’s teasing delivery from the right was steered home with a powerful header by James McLaughlin before Jamie McGonigle opened his account for the afternoon.

McGonigle converted off Ian Parkhill’s corner-kick from inside the area to provide Coleraine with a 3-1 lead.

McLaughlin’s afternoon ended in disappointment as injury forced the forward to limp off, adding to Coleraine’s summer injury list.

McGonigle doubled his tally before the break by reacting to a loose ball and drilling a first-time shot home after Ports goalkeeper Chris McGaughey was unable to hold a drive from distance off Brad Lyons.

Portadown cut the gap in the closing moments of the first half thanks to awareness from Chris Lavery to latch on to possession, round Johns and fire home from an angle.

The second half offered few sights of goal but Parkhill finished frustrated as he hit the crossbar with one audacious attempt then intercepted a crossfield pass to race clear but with McGaughey on hand to save.

The rolling substitutions offered both clubs an opportunity to utilise the full use of the squads, with Michael Doherty the only player not handed minutes across the board.

PORTADOWN: Chris McGaughey, Mark Carson, Kyle Neill, Ross Larkin, Kyle McVey, Jamie McDonagh, Andy Kilmartin, Niall Henderson, Chris Lavery, Adam Salley, Kevin Amuneke. Subs: Lewis Hunter, Adam McCallum, Matt Hazley, Luke Wilson, Shea McGerrigan, Nedas Maciulaitis, Jude Ballard, Ben Roy.

COLERAINE: Chris Johns, Adam Mullan, David Ogilby, Darren McCauley, James McLaughlin, Brad Lyons, Stephen O’Donnell, Ian Parkhill, Matthew Kirk, Jamie McGonigle, Scot Whiteside. Subs: Ciaron Harkin, Steven Douglas, Josh Carson, Michael Doherty, Joel Bradley.