PORTADOWN failed to close the gap on the leaders Linfield with this defeat to Crusaders at Shamrock Park.
The Crues suffered an early blow when skipper Colin coates was forced to come off after just ten minutes through injury.
But they needed have worried after his replacement, David Rainey, opened the scoring barely six minutes after that when he met a Stuart Dallas corner with his head to turn it past David Miskelly.
Portadown might have levelled through Jamie Tomelty seven minutes later but his finish lacked power after Matt Tipton had created the opening with a curling cross.
And the Ports were disappointed again on 27 minutes following a Chris Morrow goalline clearance from a Gary Breen header.
However, Ronnie McFall's side did get back into the game on 64 minutes courtesy of a deflected Kevin Braniff drive following good work down the right flank by Tomelty and Keith O'Hara.
The visitors had the last laugh, though, when on 84 minutes Dallas knocked home the winner with an angled drive some 20-yards from goal.
Portadown: Miskelly, Gartland, Breen, O'Hara, Redman, McCafferty, McCabe, Tomelty, Boyle, Tipton, Braniff subs McCloskey (replaced Boyle 82), Murphy (not used), Clarke (not used), Acheson (not used), Paget (not used)
Crusaders: O'Neill, McCann, Leeman, Coates, Magowan, McBride, McKeown, Caddell, Morrow, Dallas, Owens subs Rainey (replaced Coates 10), Gargan (replaced McCann 67), Hazley (not used), Snoddy (not used), Gibson (not used)
- Paul Leeman and Garry Breen go in for a header (Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com)