Paul Heatley (14)

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Darren Murray (10p)
Darren Murray (31)

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Darren Murray is congratulated after scoring his second goal of the game (Picture: Stephen Hamilton/PressEye.com)

MURRAY MAKES HIS MARK AS PORTS DEFEAT CHAMPIONS

Darren Murray grabbed all the headlines as Portadown defeated defending champions Crusaders at Seaview.

Murray opened the scoring on ten minutes with a successfully converted spot-kick awarded after Josh Robinson had brought down Gary Twigg.

However, Paul Heatley levelled four minutes later after controlling the ball just outside the box before firing a low right-foot shot past David Miskelly in off an upright.

Murray doubled his tally on 31 minutes to restore Portadown's lead with a fantastic finish. He took the ball past two defenders, dummied 'keeper Sean O'Neill and fired into the roof of the net.

The Crues almost equalised for a second time not long after the restart when Jordan Forsythe saw an effort saved and then cleared off the line by Keith O'Hara.

At the other end a Peter McMahon snapshot from ten yards on 68 minutes was instinctively well saved by O'Neill.

Then, with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Forsythe came close again only to send a powerful header against the bar.

The Ports were reduced to ten men with seven minutes remaining when Murray was sent-off after collecting his second booking of the game.

Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Magowan, Robinson, McClean, Snoddy, Mitchell, Forsythe, Owens, Whyte, Heatley subs McKibbin (not used), Stewart (not used), Clarke (replaced Magowan 46), O'Carroll (replaced Snoddy 67), Vauls (not used)

Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, O'Hara, Ramsey, Mackle, Murray, Oman, Twigg, Garrett, Richardson subs Brennan (not used), McMahon (replaced Richardson 53), Breen (replaced Oman 65), Soares (not used), Stewart (replaced Twigg 75)

Referee: Arnold Hunter

Attendance: 877

Tags:  Crusaders  Portadown