Home comforts have been in short supply in Northern Ireland's Premier League with astonishing away victories hitting the headlines.
Earlier this month, two 6-0 away wins coincided on the same Saturday. If Linfield FC's success by that scoreline at struggling Newry City FC hardly constituted a major surprise, the fact arch-rivals Glentoran FC, the titleholders, also conceded six without reply at home to mid-table Coleraine FC certainly did. Rory Patterson netted four times for the visitors.
It was Glentoran's heaviest-ever home league loss, and manager Alan McDonald suffered the consequences from unhappy fans, a number of whom stayed behind to call for his dismissal. The former Northern Ireland defender missed Glentoran's next match on medical advice but, after discussions with players and club officials, McDonald decided to continue in the job.
Four for Leckey
That result was arguably outdone on Saturday by a ten-goal game, with Portadown FC triumphing 8-2 at Dungannon Swifts FC – who had won 4-1 away to Portadown earlier in this campaign. Remarkably, Dungannon had held the division's best defensive record until then, having shipped 15 goals in 17 matches. The Ports were 2-0 up at half-time, with Richard Leckey, making his first league start of the season after injury problems, registering twice. Leckey would score four in total as his team raced into an 8-0 lead, and two late goals from the hosts barely lessened their shame.
Swifts boss Damian 'Dixie' Robinson said: "I don't know whether to be embarrassed about the players or embarrassed for them. At half-time I had the harshest words I've ever had to say to them, and maybe with so many inexperienced players they can't take that and respond in the right manner."
Leckey half-jokingly suggested his four-timer might ensure manager Ronnie McFall picks him for Portadown's next fixture – at home to table-topping Linfield: "I haven't started too many this season so I'm hoping to get another start next weekend. I don't think I'll be on the bench. The manager was happy. He said 'well done' and it's not often you hear that. That is probably as good as you get from the big man."
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