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Doolin delight as Ports fight back to grab play-off lead

Manager Paul Doolin praised the ‘great character and fight’ on show as a second-half fightback helped Portadown’s push for senior survival with a 3-2 advantage over Annagh United.

The first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off provided a bumper crowd at Tandragee Road with five goals as Championship-based Annagh turned the tables on an early blow before top-flight Portadown grabbed control.

Howard Beverland broke the deadlock but Lee Upton and Stephen Murray fired Annagh into a 2-1 lead.

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Billy Stedman’s second-half showcase of an assist for Stephen Teggart to equalise then fine top-corner finish left the Ports sitting on top before Friday’s Shamrock Park second leg.

Billy Stedman celebrates his goal for Portadown. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

“In the second half we came out and showed great character and fight,” said Doolin. “It was a great game between two decent teams - a great advertisement.

“Annagh have some decent players and play to their strengths but we would never underestimate them and always give respect.

“It was the first time we scored three goals in one game.

“Billy did great for his assist and goal.

“We did better in the second half - the atmosphere was good and people seemed to be enjoying the game.

“So now we look to Friday night and at home with that Shamrock Park advantage we want to give more.

“It is that responsibility on us all to keep this club in the Premiership.”