LARNE 1 PORTADOWN 2
Larne played host to the Danske Banske Premiership’s basement side aiming for a Tennents Irish Cup shock built on the Championship club’s impressive home record.
However, Portadown enjoyed a bright start bolstered by the additions of signings Tiarnan Mulvenna and Adam Foley.
Foley looked sharp along the left and broke the deadlock on 32 minutes by flicking home a low Aaron Haire cross after good work along the right by the latter and Stephen Hughes.
Portadown had posed a threat before the opening goal when Garry Breen’s glancing header off a Brendan Shannon free-kick was cleared off the line by Michael McKenna.
Joel Madison produced an acrobatic save to claw out Foley’s angled header from a Mulvenna cross moments after the winger had kicked off his Portadown career with a spot on the scoresheet.
Breen was at the heart of the action and his last-gasp sliding tackle prevented James McCabe from latching on to Paul Maguire’s lofted pass at 0-0 then the Portadown centre-back pumped forward a free-kick that caught out the Larne backline, allowing Hughes to control and convert for 2-0.
Larne grabbed a lifeline late in the first half thanks to good work between Ryan Kane and Andrew Mooney, the latter on his debut following a switch from Cliftonville, with McCabe flashing a first-time shot beyond Chris McGaughey.
The second half lacked the attacking spark of the first but Larne squandered a clearcut opening to equalise on 65 minutes when Kane’s free-kick delivery was headed wide at the far post by Maguire.
Sights of goal proved limited but a superb block by Jerry Thompson prevented Mulvenna from enjoying time and space in a great position inside the box.
Larne’s hopes of keeping the tie alive suffered a blow on 77 minutes when McCabe picked up his second booking for what appeared to be dissent.
Portadown came close to cementing control with a low Foley shot but it lacked power and Madison blocked with an out-stretched leg.
LARNE: Joel Madison, Michael McKenna, Daniel Wilson, Chris Rodgers, Jerry Thompson, Ryan Kane, Emmett Templeton, Mark Hillen, James McCabe, Andrew Mooney, Paul Maguire. Subs: Kevin Bradley (Wilson, 52), Matthew Henry (Kane, 70), Michael Smith (Hillen, 36), Paul Rodgers, Brian Heggarty.
PORTADOWN: Chris McGaughey, Mark Carson, Gary Breen, Jordan Lyttle, Alan Byrne, Brendan Shannon, Sean Mackle, Adam Foley, Tiaran Mulvenna, Aaron Haire, Stephen Hughes. Subs: Conor Larkin, Matthew Parker, Zac Wilson (Mackle, 57), Marcio Soares, Callum Ferris (Haire, 82).
Referee: Evan Boyce.