Harding hoping to use weekend anger for future progress

Stewards step in as Portadown's David Miskelly, manager Ronnie McFall and Garry Breen attempt to confront the match officials on an afternoon of controversy.INPT19-280
Stewards step in as Portadown's David Miskelly, manager Ronnie McFall and Garry Breen attempt to confront the match officials on an afternoon of controversy.INPT19-280
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Portadown assistant manager Kieran Harding feels the fury at events on Saturday will fuel the squad’s future development.

Anger at decisions by the match officials has left the Ports struggling to accept the manner of the Irish Cup final defeat to Glentoran.

Post-match developments have revealed how one of the assistant referees, Raymond Crangle, apologised to midfielder Michael Gault for mistakes at The Oval.

“In my time at the club I have never experienced a low like it,” said Harding. “Relegation to the Championship due to an administrative mistake was obviously a massive blow but we now feel short-changed by events on the pitch and that is different.

“The only thing now is to use it to strengthen our resolve as it was a tight game overall that, we feel, hinged on certain decisions.

“We were flabbergasted at what we viewed a calamity of errors, with match officials in position to spot the events.

In my time at the club I have never experienced a low like it

Kieran Harding

“On the bench we were expecting a foul and red card after the incident on Michael, then the goalkeeper picked up the backpass as we think he was expecting a free-kick, plus we feel there was a handball in the build-up to the goal.

“Unfortunately, the ‘hard luck’ messages count for nothing.

“The players will never forget and it is a bitter pill for everyone at the club to swallow.”