Irish Premiership: Linfield 3-2 Portadown

Linfield move four point clear at the top of the table

Linfield will take a four-point lead into Christmas in the Irish Premiership after this win over Portadown.

The Ports had a chance to earn a point in injury-time but Ross Glendinning saved Ross Redman's penalty.

Jimmy Callacher nodded the Blues ahead on two minutes but goals from Sean Mackle and Mark McAllister put the Ports in front by half-time at Windsor.

However, Aaron Burns levelled from the penalty spot on 49 with Sammy Morrow poking in the winner six minutes later.

Burns's penalty was correctly ruled a goal as the assistant referee spotted that the ball had crossed the line after rebounding off the underside of the crossbar.

Play continued for a couple of seconds before referee Raymond Hetherington spotted his assistant's flag.

There was further penalty drama right at the death as Glendinning dived low to save and hold Redman's shot after Callacher had tripped Ports substitute Gary Twigg.

With champions Cliftonville conceding a late goal to lose at the Oval, Linfield's win put them four points ahead of the Reds, Crusaders and Portadown at the top.

Ross Glendinning is congratulated by team-mates Jimmy Callacher and Jamie Richards after his late penalty save
Ross Glendinning shows his delight after saving Ross Redman's injury-time penalty at Windsor Park

The victory gave Linfield their seventh win in eight league games as the Ports slipped to successive defeats.

Callacher headed the Blues into a second-minute lead after a quickly taken corner saw Burns's subsequent cross being nodded goal-wards by a Ports player.

As Linfield continue to dominate, Miskelly made smart saves to deny Callacher and Burns before Morrow missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 on 28 as he lobbed wide after a weak back-header from Gary Breen.

Morrow's miss looked a probable turning point as Mackle's equaliser 30 seconds later was then followed by McAllister heading the Ports into the lead on 33 after Robbie Garrett's superb pass had released Redmond to cross.

Mackle's tap-in goal came after Glendinning had failed to hold Peter McMahon's low shot.

Waterworth missed an immediate chance to equalise after a mistake by Blues old boy Michael Gault but within a minute, Portadown had wasted a chance to increase their advantage as McAllister headed Redman's looping free-kick against the crossbar.

The Blues were on terms within four minutes of the restart as Ivan Sproule was tripped by Gault with Burns's blasted penalty belatedly and correctly ruled to have clearly crossed the goal-line after striking the underside of the bar.

More Sproule trickery set up Morrow to put the Blues ahead on 55 before Burns missed two great chances to extend Linfield's lead.

Portadown didn't seriously threaten a equaliser until Callacher's unwise lunge in on Twigg in the final minute of injury-time.

With regular penalty taker Darren Murray having been replaced, Redman stepped up to take the spo-kick but Glendinning made a comfortable save much to the home fans's delight.

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