The final whistle four days’ prior to the Warrenpoint Town fixture offered relief and hope for a positive end to a season of frustration.
At full-time on Saturday the reality returned as a 2-0 defeat left Portadown back under risk of relegation.
Hosts Warrenpoint grabbed a goal in each half - with Conor McDonald breaking the deadlock before Stephen Murray, familiar to many town fans from his time in Mid-Ulster football with St Mary’s, wrapped up victory.
Now Portadown must enter the closing day of the season with safety still under the control of Pat McGibbon’s men but with a variety of areas for concern if, as proved the case in Warrenpoint, the visitors fail to produce the required performance.
With both sides in need of a result, play proved disjointed for long spells.
McGibbon, the caretaker manager in the aftermath of Ronnie McFall’s resignation, marked his eighth game as interim boss bolstered by the sole win under his control from the midweek trip to Carrick Rangers.
The decision appeared made by McGibbon to match that Carrick gameplan by deploying a lone striker in exchange for extra defensive support towards the desired point required for safety.
However, Warrenpoint grabbed the first goal as Portadown failed to clear the threat and McDonald found the net.
Matthew Parker came close to an attacking impact late in the half by latching on to a Gary Twigg flick but Dermot McVeigh proved in place to block the threat.
Murray made his mark on 67 minutes to confirm victory for Warrenpoint.
PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Ken Oman, Garry Breen, Gault, Mouncey, Garrett, Twigg, Mackle, Parker. Subs: Garry Breen (on for Ramsey 33 mins), Nathaniel Ferris (on for Garrett, 59 mins), Jake Richardson (on for Mackle, 78 mins), Martin Marron, Mike Withers.