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Stranraer 1-0 Portadown

  • Post published:5 July 2024

Scorer: Gallagher (24)

Grant Gallagher’s first half strike ensured Stranraer wrapped up pre-season preparations without tasting defeat.

The Blues were tested by a Portadown side looking forward to life back in the top tier of football in Northern Ireland.

However, some determined defending, impressive goalkeeping – and a bit of luck – meant they came away with the win.

The game came to life on the quarter-hour mark with both sides having a chance within a matter of seconds.

A Portadown trialist shrugged off the attention of Adam Cummins to race onto Jay Riley’s ball down the line.

Adam Cummins returned to the club last month from Stirling Albion

Goalkeeper Jacob Pazikas narrowed the angle and managed to make a block and defender Craig Ross was then on hand to prevent the follow up.

Then, it was time for Stranraer to create their own chance.

Gallagher’s delicate through ball found Tom Orr, who rounded goalkeeper Aaron McCarey but saw his route to goal cut off by Lewis McKinnon.

The breakthrough came just after the halfway point of the opening 45 minutes.

Orr was again involved and found fellow former Greenock Morton man Mark Russell.

He was patient in holding the ball up for the overlapping Gallagher, who then fired home across McCarey.

Grant Gallagher smashed home the only goal of the game

The visitors introduced an entirely new line up for the second half and also came out of the blocks quickly.

Not even 10 minutes of the second period had been completed when they hit the woodwork twice.

Ryan Mayse was a regular goalscorer for the visitors last season and his drive took the slightest of deflections off Tom Brindley and onto the crossbar.

Then, moments later, Stranraer’s post was left shaking when a cross from the right caught out Harry Broun.

The substitute goalkeeper kept out a looping header from Zach Murray and blocked two more shots on goal as the Blues managed to weather the storm.

In the end, the hosts could have extended their advantage further.

Deryn Lang’s fierce shot from 25 yards was tipped onto the crossbar by Portadown’s own replacement goalkeeper Jamie Ray.

The ball fell kindly to Ryan Edgar but the substitute’s shot into the ground bounced up and hit the bar.

Ryan Edgar has been impressive in pre-season

Edgar, who found the net in the last league game of last season, thought he had scored late on.

However, the assistant referee’s flag was up in plenty of time – although it looked very tight.

Now, Stranraer can concentrate on the competitive action of the Premier Sports Cup when Ross County visit next weekend.

Stranraer: Pazikas (Broun 46), McIntosh, Ross, Cummins (McQueen 46), Brindley (Ecrepont 63), Gallagher (Hughes 76), A Trialist (B Trialist 63), Grant (Lang 54), Hawkshaw (Dunlop 46), Russell (Adam 76), Orr (Edgar 46).

Portadown first half: McCarey, Riley, D Wilson, McKinnon, McCullough, Thompson, McCartan, L Wilson, McDonagh, Friel, C Trialist.
Portadown second half: Ray, Redman, McCawl, Elroy, Mayse, Brown, Henderson, D Trialist, Barr, Murray, Diao.

Referee: Michael Williamson
Attendance: 344
HT: 1-0

Photos: Bill McCandlish