Dungannon Swifts summoned up courage from somewhere to stun demoralised Portadown, who will have wonder just how they managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a thrilling Mid-Ulster derby at Stangmore Park last Tuesday night.
The Shamrock Park strugglers, still seemingly reeling from the effects of the shock premature departure of longserving manager Ronnie McFall, were apparently only seven minutes from a vital win at the well-attended compact Dungannon venue.
But quickfire late goals from Gary Liggett and Andrew Mitchell saw the delighted and ever-improving Tyrone side triumph, thus keeping the heat on the inconsistent and perhaps rudderless Ports.
Portadown had the better chances in the first half, with Chris Casement heavily involved in their best moves.
Early on a dashing run took him into the box, but his finish was surprisingly poor.
He then worked the goalkeeper from a long-range free-kick, before providing the corner for the Ports’ best chance. His delivery was flicked on to Garry Breen, whose close-range header beat Andy Coleman but ricocheted back off the crossbar.
The deadlock was eventually broken by the visitors in the 31st minute.
Two of the young players combined as some good build-up play on the left ended, with Matty Parker crossing to Ferris, who headed home.
Dungannon knew they needed to respond and they predictably stepped their performance up a gear after the break.
However, it still seemed set to be a night of disappointment and frustration for Dungannon. But the introduction from the bench of Liggett was to be the catalyst for a dramatic comeback.
And the arrival of the striker in the 75th minutes was to prove decisive as he levelled with seven minutes remaining, firing home from close range after connecting with a cross from Mitchell.
And it was job done when, in the 92nd minute, the crafty and experience Liggett turned provider for Mitchell, who won it with a terrific shot on the turn.
Dungannon Swifts had rightly observed a pre-match minute’s silence as a mark of respect to longtime supporter Stephen Moffett who sadly died suddenly on Saturday when he was in Manchester with Dungannon United Youth. One can’t help but think he’d have been so proud of this battling victory.
Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Burns, Hegarty, Armstrong, O’Rourke, Fitzpatrick (Glackin, 54), Harpur, Hazley (Liggett, 75), Burke, Teggart, Mitchell (Lowe, 90) Subs not used: Addis, Montgomery
Portadown: Miskelly, Ramsey, Breen, Oman (Judge, 56), Gault, Garrett, Mackle, Casement, Twigg, Parker, Ferris (Soares, 89) Subs not used: Marron, Mouncey, Withers
Andrew Davey, Bangor