Loughgall coach Steven Hawe feels confident of continued progress within the Villagers despite Tuesday’s Mid-Ulster Cup exit.
Portadown fielded a blend of youth and experience for the Lakeview Park quarter-final and returned home with a 3-1 win.
Hawe, however, was happy to pick out the positives from within the final scoreline.
“It has been around a month now since we came in at Loughgall and I can definitely notice positive changes,” said Hawe. “We are starting to see small changes in different areas and I was pleased with the performance against Portadown despite the scoreline.
“Irrespective of the result, we will take the good points and move forward together as a group.
“We had five or six out, players probably expected to start such as Wesley Boyle, Marcus Dallas and Jeff Brady.
“Matt McMahon was ineligible but scored two for the reserves at the weekend and has displayed a great attitude since joining us from Portadown.
“The fact that those players have still to come back in, on top of the encouraging work-rate against Portadown, should give everyone a boost.
“We started well against Portadown but suffered again from conceding the first goal then struggling to get back into the match.
“Two extra goals against us inside a minute left it difficult but then we had a great period at the start of the second half.
“Warner Mullen was brilliant, Mark Carson is great at getting forward from right-back, Graeme Taylor had a good debut, Matty Reynolds looked dangerous and Aaron Patterson put in a good shift.
“We created chances and now need to take those positives forward.
“We have two tough home games coming up against Ards and Bangor but then face a run of fixtures with teams around our position in the table.
“It is moving in the right direction.”
LOUGHGALL: Symon Ferguson, Mark Carson, Ryan Moffatt, Ricky Copeland, Mark Stewart, Matthew Reynolds, Steven Ferguson, Gary Henderson, Graeme Taylor, Warner Mullen, Aaron Patterson. Subs: Keith Kearney (on for Carson, 87 mins), Simon Smyth (on for Reynolds, 85 mins), Jason Greenaway (on for Ferguson, 70 mins), Ross Black.
Kick-off against Ards will be 3 o’clock.