CHAMPIONSHIP: Matthew Tipton kicks off life as Portadown boss with draw against league leaders Institute
Portadown battled back from an early deficit to reward Matthew Tipton with a share of the spoils against league leaders Institute from his first fixture as manager.
Chris Lavery’s second-half strike capped a display of spirit and drive under Tipton.
The Bluefin Sport Championship front-runners grabbed control from the first whistle in a bid to block any initial bounce following Tipton’s appointment.
Consistent attacking play along the left wing left Institute with the upper hand as Eamon Seydak, Jamie Dunne and Michael McCrudden linked up down the flank.
Paddy McLaughlin’s men managed to break the deadlock on 18 minutes with a touch of class to reward the energy and endeavour.
McCrudden collected the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area and displayed clever control to skip past two defenders before drilling a low angled drive beyond Chris McGaughey.
Institute’s bright opening play and collective pace gave way, however, to increased Portadown pressure as play progressed before the break.
The Ports’ most positive attacking play of the first half arrived around the half-hour mark and led to a penalty shout dismissed by referee Tony Clarke.
Niall Henderson intercepted possession in midfield and picked out Craig McMillen, with the latter’s clipped pass turned into the box by Jamie Douglas for the supporting Adam Salley. Salley went down under pressure but shouts for a spot-kick were waved away.
Douglas flashed a smart shot the wrong side of the post off a well-worked corner-kick as Kyle Neill’s deep outswinging delivery found the Portadown forward in space.
Deane Curry had to step in to block Luke Wilson’s path to goal following a driving run from deep by the latter and good work by Lavery and Douglas.
Lavery suffered frustration in the closing moments of the half with a shot blocked on the line by a resolute Institute backline following another dangerous Neill corner-kick.
The first goal of the Tipton era arrived on 74 minutes when Lavery raced into the penalty area to collect and convert Salley’s angled pass and level play.
PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Neill, Hall, McVey, Larkin, Henderson (Kilmartin , 72), C.Lavery, Wilson, Salley, Douglas (S.Lavery, 72), McMillen (Carmichael, 91).
subs (not used): McCauley, Brennan.
INSTITUTE: Gallagher, Wilson, Seydak, Jarvis, D.Curry, Scoltock, S.Curry (Mullen, 77), Harkin, Morrow (Mallion, 64), McCrudden, Dunne (Brown, 81).
subs (not used): Boyle, Moorhead.
Referee: Tony Clarke.