ONE of their best performances of the season saw Port Glasgow hit Vale of Leven for six to keep their albeit faint hopes of promotion alive.

Vale boss Hugh Hamill described his men’s display as the worst he had ever seen during his long tenure with the Alexandria side.

But that should not detract from the Port’s great showing.

Such was their dominance that although Jamie McKenna blasted four goals in the second half alone, his tally could have been boosted by at least two more had he not taken until after the interval to get his scoring boots on.

The striker’s first chance came on 11 minutes, when he latched on to a through ball to go one-one-one with Vale keeper Charles Smith, but his toe-poked shot only found the side netting.

With the Vale restricted to long-range efforts which barely troubled home keeper Robbie Graham, it was all Port Glasgow, though it took until the 32nd minute before the deadlock was broken.

It was worth waiting for, though, as Dylan McLaughlin, right, skilfully brought down a high ball before running into the box and drilling a low shot into the net.

The Vale were struggling to make any inroads in attack, but they should have grabbed the equaliser six minutes before half-time, when a cross from Connor Hyslop gave Craig Cavana a clear look at goal — but from just six yards out the Vale man sliced his shot wide of the post.

McKenna had another golden chance to score with a minute of the first half remaining, when he again found himself in on goal, but fired his shot past the post.

The Port must have gone in at the interval wondering how they were only one goal in front, but it all came good in the second period.

McLaughlin showed the way again as he grabbed his second of the game on 56 minutes.

The Vale’s Mark Pawsey was short with an attempted pass-back, and the alert McLaughlin nipped in to round keeper Smith and slip the ball home.

Just two minutes later McKenna was put through on goal for the third time in the match, but this time the striker made no mistake as he slotted the ball past Smith to put the Port 3-0 up.

McLaughlin almost got his hat-trick with a shot which was turned round the post by the Vale keeper.

The Port were now threatening to score with every attack, with the Vale defence reeling under the pressure.

And they got their fourth on 77 minutes, when a long ball again caught the visitor’s defence flat-footed, and the now super confident McKenna ran on to bag his second.

The Vale almost got what would have been a scant consolation goal 15 minutes from time, when Port keeper Robbie Graham stumbled while making an attempted clearance.

Vale sub Craig Cowan pounced on the loose ball, but was thwarted by Port debut boy Luke Irvine, on loan from the Morton youth team.

Graham was injured in the incident and had to be replaced in goal by Paul Coyle, with Craig McCormick coming on as an outfield sub.

But that didn’t affect the Port, who hit another two goals in the closing stages. McKenna got on the end of a McCormick corner to head home and clinch his hat-trick.

But the striker wasn’t done at that, and bagged his fourth goal of the game near the end, as the Vale defence was exposed yet again by a through ball, allowing McKenna to run on and flight a delicate lob over keeper Smith and into the net.

Naturally, it was a delighted Port boss Craig Brown who said: “That was a great performance and a perfect day for us.

“The Vale defence couldn’t live with the pace and skill of Dylan and Jamie, who got the six goals between them. But the whole team worked hard and played a lot of good football.” Port Glasgow: Graham (McCormick 82), Knight, Coyle, Walton, Irvine, Gault (Stevenson 63), Kearns, McKay, McKenna, McLaughlin (Black 63), Jamieson.

Port Glasgow Juniors are sponsored by Regents Vehicle Sales, Greenock, and MAC HSL Ltd. Match sponsored by Councillor David Wilson.