Marcio Soares and Jimmy Callacher battle for a header (Picture: Brian Little/PressEye.com)
Friday, 17 February 2017
Linfield's title ambitions suffered a serious blow when they had to depend on a stoppage goal to salvage a point against bottom of the table Portadown.
Linfield had the ball in the net early in proceedings but Jimmy Callacher's 'goal' was ruled out offside while, on 11 minutes, Andrew Waterworth saw an effort from point blank range saved by Chris McGaughey.
At the other end, Marcio Soares had a great effort blocked by Roy Carroll after being teed up by Adam Foley before Soares later just failed to connect with a Sean Mackle cross.
Waterworth then had another chance for the Blues after being set up by Niall Quinn but McGaughey tipped the ball wide.
The Blues might have found a way through just after the hour when a Ross Gaynor shot was cleared off the line by Mark Carson.
Indeed, goalline clearances continued to plague Linfield with both Stephen Lowry and Mark Stafford seeing further efforts similarly blocked.
However, with eight minutes to go, Portadown stunned Linfield when Mackle laid the ball off for Foley to curl the ball from the edge of the box into the top left corner beyond Roy Carroll.
And Robert Garrett might have made it 2-0 soon after when he slipped into the box but despite beating a couple of tackles could only fire straight at Carroll.
The Blues rescued a point in added time when substitute Josh Carson scrambled the ball home from three yards after Ports 'keeper McGaughey parried a Waterworth volley clear.
Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Stewart, Callacher, Waterworth, Lowry, Millar, M. Clarke, Casement, Mulgrew, Quinn subs Ward (not used), Fallon (not used), Carson (replaced Casement 78), Gaynor (replaced Quinn 61), Smyth (replaced Millar 46)
Portadown: McGaughey, Carson, Shannon, R. Larkin, Hazley, Garrett, Henderson, Mackle, Soares, McGerrigan, Foley subs Duffin (replaced McGaughey 90+2), Gardiner (not used), Richardson (not used), Dolan (not used), Mulvenna (replaced Soares 80)
Referee: Lee Tavinder
|Chris McGaughey||90 +2|
|Josh Carson||78||90 +1|
|Jack Duffin||90 +2|