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PORTS STRIKE BACK TO CLAIM EUROPA LEAGUE VICTORY

Release Date: 11/07/2012

PORTADOWN reached the second qualifying round of the Europa League with a tremendous 2-1 defeat of Macedonian side Shkendija at Shamrock Park.

With the tie perfectly poised after the scoreless first leg last week Ronnie McFall's side were dealt an early when, after just four minutes, the visitors grabbed an away goal when Ardian Cuculi fired past David Miskelly after the Ports defence failed to deal with a Nebi Mustafi corner.

And Shkendija might have doubled their lead ten minutes later through Muzafer Ejupi but Miskelly did well to turn the low shot away to safety.

However, as the game progressed Portadown grew into the game and almost levelled before the break when both Kevin Braniff and Darren Murray caused anxiety in the Shkendija area.

The equaliser arrived on 57 minutes courtesy of Richard Lecky header beyond Hadis Velii after connecting with a Murray throw-in.

Murray was involved again as Portadown chased the winner when he just failed to convert an inch perfect Joe McNeill cross.

But the goal that was to send the Ports through came with ten minutes remaining after Velii couldn't collect a long range Ross Redman free-kick and could only look on as the ball slipped over the line.

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  • Ross Redman - goal celebration

    Portadown's Ross Redman celebrates scoring against Shkendija 79

    Picture Credit: William Cherry/Press Eye

  • Shkendija 79 goalkeeper - Ross Redman goal for Portadown

    Shkendija 79 goalkeeper Hadis Velii allows Portadown's Ross Redman free-kick to slip through his grasp and into the net.

    Picture Credit: Ben Hanna

  • Richard Lecky goal celebration against Shkendija 79

    Portadown's Richard Lecky celebrates scoring against Shkendija 79

    Picture Credit: William Cherry/Press Eye

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