Joe Gormley didn't fire for the Reds on Friday night and Ports striker Gary Twigg grabbed a late winner

Joe Gormley didn’t fire for the Reds on Friday night and Ports striker Gary Twigg grabbed a late winner

ALL the talk in the opening matches of the Danske Bank Irish League has been about Joe ‘The Goal’ Gormley.

Nine goals in four games for the Cliftonville striker has set local football alight.

And it has also got footie scouts all in a hotline frenzy to their cross-channel clubs.

But little has been mentioned about Gary Twigg of Portadown who has been quietly doing the business 25 miles up the road from Belfast Shamrock Park.

On Friday night, the Reds hosted the Ports at Solitude in the hope of keeping up their 100 per cent record.

And the smart money was on a Cliftonville to stay top of the Danske Bank Irish Premier League.

However, the travelling Ports team had other ideas and 29-year-old Twigg – signed last season from Shamrock Rovers – ruined the party with a last gasp winner.

A Reds win looked on the cards when defender Marc Smyth put the Solitude men 1-0 up on 69 mins.

The lead was short-lived when the Ports’ Chris Casement equalised.

And then that man Twigg took the cherry of the Reds’ cake with a late winner rifled into the roof of the net.

Twigg told the Portadown Times after the game: “We knew how tough it was going to be going into the match.

“But, to be fair, we also knew we were capable of getting a win.

“I don’t think anyone watching would have felt we did not deserve something from the night and everyone showed great character to battle back from a goal down.”

Ports manager said: “I think we just about shaded it and have sent out a message.

“Cliftonville are a quality outfit, they have a big squad, and I have said whoever finishes above them will win the league.”

In his interview with the Portadown Times, Twigg added: “I think we had the better scoring chances and then managed to take over again even after they scored.

“There is a real self-belief in this squad and we showed determination to come back from a goal down against Linfield, recover from losing players to injury to lead 2-1 at one stage against Coleraine and then again tonight.

“Obviously this was a great win for the club but it is still early days and we must look on it is as just that, a good start.

“However, I am sure the fans can see and appreciate the spirit in this squad and that there is a different mentality compared to last season.”

Twigg considers his personal form in front of the net as a by-product of the team’s positive start.

“Any striker will say the same thing, that I can only put the ball in the net if everyone is doing his job,” said the Scotland-born striker. “Last season I came into the team at the start of the year and it was something of a stop-start campaign for me.

“I never got my fitness up but now the extra time has really helped.

“In terms of the goal, Peter McMahon managed to flick it around and I was able to toe it away from one Cliftonville player then hold off another and eventually stick out a leg to poke it home.”




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