Portadown 2-4 Linfield

Linfield returned to form in impressive fashion as two William Murphy goals helped them account for Portadown in the Premiership clash at Shamrock Park.

The first goal came when Niall Quinn's corner went in off ex-Blues defender Chris Casement for an own goal.

Portadown improved and Neil McCafferty levelled from the penalty spot after Ryan Henderson's handball.

However, Murphy's 80th and 90th-minute goals were split by a Henderson effort with Richard Lecky replying late on.

Niall Quinn's delivery from setpieces was a major feature of the Blues' impressive display while Murphy, at 38, was outstanding both in defence and when he joined the attack.

The Blues, despite being minus injured strikers Peter Thompson and Matthew Tipton, made a positive start with Robbie Garrett, Brian McCaul and Jamie Mulgrew dominating the midfield exchanges.

Graham Gartland had to make a last-ditch clearance to prevent Murphy from stabbing the Blues ahead on 24 minutes following a Quinn corner.

But the Blues did take the lead from the resultant corner with Portadown defender Casement getting the final touch after Murphy had risen to glance on Quinn's delivery.

McCaul should have extended Linfield's lead before the break but he shot weakly at David Miskelly after McCafferty had been caught in possession.

Portadown improved hugely after the break with Kevin Braniff going close immediately after the restart.

Still, the Ports' 70th-minute equaliser still came as something of a surprise with McCafferty lashing a penalty to the net after sub Henderson's handball.

There were no arguments from former Armagh GAA player Henderson who allowed the ball to hit his outstretched arm after Alan Blayney had failed to gather a cross.

Blayney had to make a brilliant save to deny a long-range Joe McNeill shot a minute later as they Ports threatened to earn a comeback victory.

However, Murphy restored the Blues' lead 10 minutes from time as he rose unmarked to head another Quinn corner past Miskelly.

The points were in the bag for Linfield two minutes from time when Henderson lashed home from close range after the ball had appeared to bounce off McCafferty.

Furious Portadown players felt that McCafferty had been impeded by the referee but the protests only resulted in a booking for home centre-back Brian Gartland.

Murphy headed home another corner in injury-time with Lecky nodding in a reply in the final seconds of the contest.

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