flat ports lack shamrock Spark

Ross Redman made a return to his hometown club last weekend during Glentoran's victory over Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Ross Redman made a return to his hometown club last weekend during Glentoran's victory over Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

The party line from within Portadown this season has been to focus on the pitch and ignore any off-the-field issues in pursuit of wiping out the Irish Football Association-imposed 12-point deficit.

However, on Saturday that punishment appeared to weigh down the players as Glentoran settled the outcome thanks to Kym Nelson’s second-half strike.

The Glens arrived at Shamrock Park aiming to turn the tables on back-to-back defeats, with the final whistle instead confirming double disappointment for the Ports after the previous weekend’s injury-time setback against Ards.

Both sides offered signs of teams in transition - with Portadown carving out the two most promising openings of the first half but Glentoran producing the decisive touch of class thanks to Nelson’s long-range drive.

Captain Keith O’Hara just missed out on converting Stephen Hughes’ flicked header then the latter forced Elliott Morris into a smart stop.

However, the Ports struggled overall to produce a cutting edge and lacked the energy and tempo so encouraging in the previous home appearance - a midweek victory over Ballinamallard United.

Glentoran created a number of scoring opportuinities across the match but a single goal always appeared on course to settle any outcome in a fixture which failed to spark into life overall.

On an afternoon which offered Ross Redman a first return to his hometown club, Niall Henderson grabbed the spotlight against former team-mates by picking up red in the closing stages for a second bookable offence.

Supporters met the Ports’ fighting spirit against Ballinamallard with warm applause but the weekend display over Glentoran failed to match that past landmark level.

Now Portadown must regroup and look within the panel to discover solutions to the problems on show last weekend compared to the creativity of the Ballinallard win and, in periods, the Ards defeat.

Portadown struggled to reclaim any initiative after conceding to Glentoran in a pattern that must not become habit over the course of the season.

However, hope of survival remains high on the terraces and in the squad thanks to an air of optimism suggested by pre-season progress and cemented in that Ballinalallard performance.

Time may not be on the side of the Ports in terms of the league table’s points tally but each passing week offers increased opportunity to gel together a revamped squad and achieve the great escape from relegation.

PORTADOWN: David Miskelly, Brendan Shannon, Matthew Parker, Garry Breen, Keith O’Hara, Robert Garrett, Niall Henderson, Stephen Hughes, Mark McAllister, Sam Simpson, Eoin Kirwan. Subs: Chris McGaughey, Ken Oman, Aaron Haire (McAllister, 45 mins), Sean Mackle (Simpson, 76 mins), Mikey Withers (Kirwan, 59 mins).