Irish Premiership: Glenavon 3-2 Portadown

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Glenavon 3-2 Portadown

Glenavon made sure of a top three finish in the Irish Premiership and a place in next season's Europa League with a dramatic win over Portadown.

Andy McGrory's stoppage-time penalty sealed the win in the Mid-Ulster derby.

Glenavon had led 2-0 at half-time after mistakes by keeper David Miskelly saw Rhys Marshall and Eoin Bradley score.

Peter McMahon and Gary Twigg netted to bring the Ports level after Glenavon's James Singleton had been sent-off on 70 minutes for a tackle on Ken Oman.

It looked like the game had swung in Portadown's favour and they went in search of the win which would have seen them replace Glenavon in third.

But, with the game entering stoppage time, referee Raymond Crangle pointed to the spot when Ports defender Ross Redman pulled back Bradley.

McGrory stepped up to take the vital penalty and fired the ball into the net with Miskelly diving the wrong way.

After the final whistle Glenavon players stayed on the pitch to celebrate the win which will net the Mourneview Park club more than £140,000 from Uefa.

The Lurgan club are two points behind second-placed Linfield who have a game in hand.

The first half was one Portadown keeper Miskelly will want to forget.

He made a mess of trying to deal with a corner and, when the Ports defence tried to clear, the ball came off Singleton, with Marshall hammering the ball to the net.

It was another Miskelly howler which led to Glenavon going 2-0 up in the 31st minute as the keeper failed to control a back pass. He completely missed his attempted clearance and it left Bradley with an open goal.

Midway through the second half Singleton was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Oman.

McMahon got the Ports back in contention with a fine half volley 10 minutes from time and then Twigg flicked in close range after a blunder by Glenavon keeper James McGrath.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton:"Financially it is massive for us. If we had not qualified for Europe, the wage bill was going to be cut by £30,000.

"Now hopefully we may be able to add a little bit to it.

"It is brilliant for the boys. It is all down to them and they have been excellent since Christmas.

"The way Andy took the penalty was a credit to him because it was a huge responsibility for the young lad."

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