Second-half slump marks the latest blow to Ports’ confidence

One of the two banners in opposition to manager Ronnie McFall on show at Coleraine last weekend. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
One of the two banners in opposition to manager Ronnie McFall on show at Coleraine last weekend. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Portadown’s problems extended to a sixth successive defeat as Coleraine claimed three points on a 4-0 win following the visitors’ second-half slump.

Coleraine fans finished full of praise for the quality of the hosts’ goals - in particular, the first and third - but the timing proved of greater pain for the Ports.

A slick passing move was fired home by Darren McCauley in the closing stages of the first half then the decisive second goal arrived on 48 minutes off James McLaughlin’s header.

The 2-0 deficit proved too tough a test for a Ports side so short of form and fight.

McCauley grabbed the spotlight with a measured chip over Billy Brennan before wrapping up his personal hat-trick by drilling in a low angled shot.

Slender signs of hope arrived across the opening exchanges as Ross Redman tested Michael Doherty with a deflected drive before Gary Twigg’s crisp strike was pushed past the post by the goalkeeper at full stretch.

Once Coleraine gained control it left the fragile away side unable to make any impact on another dismal day.

The appearance of two additional banners offered further evidence of the mounting pressure on manager Ronnie McFall from a section of the support.

However, the current slump in form must now be deemed greater than any one issue. Fans may continue to exercise the right to express opposition to the current regime but each passing week and each fresh disappointment add to the sense that problems run beyond any single factor.

PORTADOWN: Billy Brennan, Chris Casement, Ross Redman, Keith O’Hara, Garry Breen, Sean Mackle, Chris Ramsey, Robert Garrett, Matthew Parker, Darren Murray, Gary Twigg. Subs: David Miskelly, Tim Mouncey, Mark McAllister (on for Ramsey, 73), Ken Oman (on for Breen, 85), Marcio Soares (on for Murray, 50).