Portrush went into their game against Cliftonville game full of confidence, following last week’s 7-1 win over Downpatrick.
However, the Ports new this would be a very difficult match, having already been knocked out of the cup by Cliftonville only a few weeks ago. Portrush started the match with lots of energy and enthusiasm, which paid off with captain Aaron Kerr scoring from a well rehearsed short corner routine. Portrush then looked in complete dominance of the match and didn’t give Cliftonville a sniff of the ball. Portrush scored a second when Callum McKeeman slotted home with a fine goal.
Portrush found themselves in a familiar position as they were 2-0 up against Cliftonville a couple of weeks ago and lost the match 3-2, so were determined not to make the same mistake twice and went 3-0 up just before half time with a goal from top goal scorer James McCook. After the break, Portrush did not ease up and pressed the Cliftonville defence consistently when they had the ball. As well as the impressive goal tally, the Portrush defence was not deterred by any Cliftonville attack as both Graeme Kerr and Andy McConaghie had very good performances.
Portrush got the fourth goal when John Dillon scored a nice goal to keep the Portrush momentum going. Soon after Portrush scored their fifth goal of the match when Aaron Kerr netted his second of the match. The only downfall of the day was when Cliftonville scored a consolation goal with an unfortunate clearance from the Portrush defence fell to a Cliftonville player who drilled home the goal. Straight after the restart Portrush were awarded a penalty flick when James McCook was brought down by the Cliftonville goalkeeper.
Again, just after the restart, Portrush won possession of the ball and scored their last goal of the game when Callum McKeeman topped off a fine performance with a brace. Portrush could have had an eighth goal just before the final whistle but after James McCook had the ball in the net, it was disallowed for a back-stick shot, Portrush couldn’t really complain but James McCook thought otherwise!
After this surprise, fantastic win for Portrush the players where very happy but knew that hard work during the season and especially at training is vital if they are to have a prosperous season. With superb performances from all players but especially Callum McKeeman, Andy Christie and Graeme Kerr, Portrush will look forward to next weeks match away to Downpatrick.
Meanwhile, Portrush Seconds were squeezed out in a nine goal thriller against Lisnagarvey Sixths on Saturday at Lisburn.
Portrush found the water-based surface more difficult to deal than their opponents with players often seeing the ball bounce over the sticks. Portrush began the better team and raced into a two goal lead with Andy Dalzell and Andy Christie getting on the scoresheet.
Lisnagarvey put Portrush under pressure and towards half time reduced the deficit to leave them in a much better position.
The second half again saw Portrush get off to a good start and they soon made it 3-1 with a goal from Graham Christie. Portrush looked home and dry at this point, but it was Lisnagarvey who got right back into the game with a second goal. Worse was to come for the visitors when Lisnagarvey equalised as a result of catching Portrush on the break.
However, it all looked good again for the Ports when they managed to squeeze home a fourth goal courtesy of Andy Dalzell.
But in a disastrous closing stage, Lisnagarvey scored twice the first from an o.g. and the second following a short corner.
It was heartbreak for Portrush and a draw would have been a much fairer result.