PORTADOWN and Cliftonville produced a six-goal thriller at Shamrock Park but both lost ground in the title race.
The visitors might have snatched the early advantage when, inside the opening ten minutes, Chris Scannell came close on three occasions, most notably a point blank header which produced a superb stop from David Miskelly at the near post.
However, the Ports seized the lead on 12 minutes when Matt Tipton connected with an Andrew Burns cross to head the ball down and past John Connolly.
Then, just three minutes after that Tipton grabbed Portadown's second, another header from a left-footed inswinging Ross Redman corner.
Cliftonville pulled a goal back eight minutes into the second half through Diarmuid O'Carroll after he unleashed a right-foot volley into the top corner from a Marty Donnelly free-kick.
The visitors equalised with 20 minutes remaining courtesy of a Donnelly spot-kick after Neill McCafferty upended Ryan Catney and picked up his second booking of the game for his trouble.
Portadown's ten men needed just five minutes to regain the lead, though, when Tipton turned home a Ross Redman knock down for his hat-trick.
But back came Cliftonville with a minute of normal time remaining when Catney chipped the ball over Miskelly.
And there was still time for some late drama when, deep into stoppage time, Reds 'keeper Connolly was dismissed by referee Brian Turkington for handling outside the area.
Portadown: Miskelly, Burns, Redman, Gartland, Breen, McCafferty, Clarke, Mackle, Ramsey, Tipton, Braniff subs Lecky (replaced Braniff 6), O'Hara (replaced Redman 72), Murphy (not used), Brown (replaced Leckey 90+2), McKinney (not used)
Cliftonville: Connolly, R. Scannell, Johnston, Holland, Caldwell, C. Scannell, Donnelly, O'Carroll, Seydak, Catney, McVeigh subs Brown (not used), Smyth (replaced R. Scannell 64), McAlinden (not used), Templeton (replaced Seydak 85), Boyce (replaced Caldwell 66)
- Marty Donnelly and Eamon Seydak celebrate (Picture: Darren Kidd/PressEye.com)