Portrush Firsts picked up a solid 5-3 home win over Antrim on Saturday.
The home side made a great start to the game and went in front with only five minutes on the clock. Aaron Kerr reacted well to deflect John Dillon’s superb hit into the net.
Throughout the first half Portrush kept coming close to scoring again, with good attacking play from the forwards and particularly winning several short corners during the first half.
Antrim were posing a threat on the counterattack, however fullbacks Ryan Smith and Philip Linton helped the Ports go into the break a goal to the good.
However, Portrush were struggling to get back into their rhythm just after the restart and with their first short corner of the game Antrim levelled.
It went from bad to worse soon after as Antrim scored again from another short corner.
For the first time in the game Portrush were on the back foot, and it came as a wake up call to help them take control of the game again. A great run up the right from Callum McKeeman saw him charge into the Antrim D, and he was able to push the ball past the Antrim keeper to make it all square again.
With Portrush morale back through the roof it wasn’t long before the ports took the lead.
McKeeman was at the heart of it again as he got a shot away, which the keeper saved but the Portrush man reacted quickest to fire in the rebound.
The hosts kept pressing looking for more goals and they made it 4-2 as John Dillon stepped up to the mark and threw a precise penalty flick past the Antrim keeper.
Antrim though weren’t out of it just yet and they made it 4-3 from another short corner.
Portrush finally killed the game off as Andrew Christie found Graeme Christie at the back post to make it 5-3.
This was Portrush’s first three points in Senior One which is a great boost for them
Good performances from the forwards with John Dillon and Callum Mckeeman scoring two. Portrush will travel to Raphoe this Friday evening for a tough game against a tough side, so continuing the great work will happen this week at training.
Man of the Match: Philip Linton
Meanwhile, Portrush Seconds maintained their unbeaten run in the Junior Five league with a 3-1 home win over Mossley Fourths on Saturday.
Despite the fairly emphatic score line this was not an easy game for Portrush who had to display solid defensive qualities for long periods in a game that hung in the balance until near the end when the third goal was scored.
Early exchanges were even with both sides demonstrating their attacking qualities and it was Portrush who took the lead with a slick counter attack from John Dillon who, on a one-on-one with the Mossley ‘keeper, managed to slip the ball into the net.
The goal only served to galvanise Mossley who forced a number of short corners all of which were stoutly defended by veteran defender, Peter McMullan, and John McMullan.
Mossley’s relentless pressure finally paid off when Portrush were caught off guard and the visitors’ took advantage of poor communication to score with a simple tap in.
Just before half time newcomer, Adam Holmes, scored his first goal for Portrush with an absolutely stunning strike from the edge of the ‘D’ which drew shouts of praise from spectators and team-mates both on and off the pitch.
Mossley’s experience and commitment saw them dominate at the start of the second half and two short corners could have proved disastrous for Portrush only for the timely intervention of John McMullan who managed to clear the danger on each occasion.
The Portrush defence were forced to work hard to cope with Mossley’s pressure and it was fortunate that the back numbers were on form with the McMullans and Tom Cartmill in sparkling form.
With time running out for Mossley, Portush delivered the killer blow with the irrepressible John Dillon scored with a reverse shot after an assist from Leon Smith.
Scott Horner and Andy ‘Dizzy’ Dalzell can reflect on excellent contributions with the latter assisting the first two goals.