Greg Hall highlights collective Portdown strength in ‘bodies on the line’ show

Greg Hall singled out 16-year-old Reece Jordan as ‘unbelievable’ in Saturday’s scoreless draw with defending champions Linfield - but centred his post-match praise for the collective effort.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 6:00 am

A warm-up injury forced Ports boss Matthew Tipton to reshuffle the backline in the closing moments before kick-off as positional changes impacted on both Hall and Jordan.

Northern Ireland youth international Jordan was drafted in off the substitutes’ bench at left-back following Barney McKeown’s late withdrawal.

Hall was then shifted inside to centre-back but the reshuffled Ports backline produced a determined display to limit the Linfield threat from open play.

Portadown’s Greg Hall (right) celebrating with centre-back partner Paul Finnegan against Linfield. Pic by Pacemaker.

The home clean sheet arrived in the face of a final tally of 20 corner-kicks by a Linfield side with a strong traditional set-piece goals return.

In September at Shamrock Park the Ports lost out by 3-2 following mounting second-half Linfield pressure but stood firm on Saturday.

“The clean sheet was massive as we’ve not had that many this year but I felt we were well worth the point...we defended well and looked good too on the break,” said Hall. “Reece was unbelievable...he played like he’s been playing for years.

“Their delivery from wide is brilliant and they do whip a lot of good balls in but I don’t think they had massive clearcut chances, we kept the strikers relatively quiet.

“In the second half it felt it was corner after corner after corner so it’s important to weather the storm in blocks of five or 10 minutes and slow the game down when you can.

“It’s a day to put bodies on the line.

“They are relentless and especially in that second half with Linfield playing in front of their crowed roaring them on you can get sucked in and it can be hard to get out.

“You just have to keep switched on, defend your box and defend well as a team.

“I think even the front two strikers did well and it starts from them at the top and we build from there.

“After the last game (in September) we maybe knew what was coming in the second half this time.

“It’s just a case of trying to manage it all and the longer it goes on the more frustrated they will get and it’s about us posing a threat on the break too.

“We shipped four the other night (v Cliftonville) and were very disappointing...so we needed a bit of a reaction.

“I always think at Shamrock Park we can give anyone a game if we are on it.

“The days we have been off our game are those days like Crusaders at Seaview (4-0), Solitude on Tuesday (4-0 v Cliftonville) and Dungannon Swifts here as well (4-1)...if we are even off our game one per cent you will get punished.

“It’s important we go out 100 per cent every game.

“Bar a couple of games, we’ve only been losing by a single goal and it feels like we have been playing well and don’t maybe have the points we should.

“Today has to give everyone a boost going forward for the season.

“It shows everyone what we can do.”

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