Welcome win the perfect platform for Portadown push
Portadown manager Matthew Tipton set aside the emotion of a second derby success and instead turned his focus to the pragmatic reward of three welcome points and a third win of the club’s return to Premiership football.
Victory by 4-1 as Glenavon made a Shamrock Park visit for the first time since 2017 helped to wrap up a derby double for the Ports this season.
However, with those Mid-Ulster derby moments serving up the majority of Portadown’s tally of league triumphs, Tipton opted to challenge his players for future gains over indulging in instant plaudits.
“First and foremost it’s about three points and the derby day win is for fans to enjoy,” said Tipton. “As a team we don’t get any more points for beating Glenavon compared to anyone else.
“But the result is massively pleasing and also the manner in which we approached the game in terms of our structure.
“Now we have Glenavon coming here again on Tuesday and personnel may change but it’s about taking this same performance on into the future.
“Everyone was doing his job today, they worked hard and it was pleasing as it showed what we can do.
“It’s not about raising a game to play Glenavon, we got what we deserved as the end product of what we’ve been asking over the past number of weeks.
“So we need to do the same on Tuesday and the same again over the rest of the games and to carry that into next season.
“That’s how we move forward and experience is not about an age, it’s about games and how our players will benefit now for the future.
“I have a points figure in mind we should hit and that’s regardless of relegation or not.
“When I went in after the game it was not about ‘well done’, especially coming into Tuesday and meeting again...we must be ready for a Glenavon reaction.
“The challenge to the players is not to think about today’s win but to now go and put results together.”
Tipton has adopted a number of tactical blueprints in a bid to maximise his players’ potential.
“We played 4-4-2 on paper but I like people to have freedom and actually think Ben Guy and Ben Tilney caused Glenavon problems by not playing left wing or right wing,” said Tipton. “The two strikers were really good and Stephen Murray can come and knock on my door and say he should be playing every week off that performance but he (or any other player) has to play like that to stay in the team.
“Our set-up last week (against Ballymena United) didn’t work so I went two up front on Tuesday against Coleraine and felt it was positive.
“In the game at Mourneview Park earlier the front two of Lee Bonis and Stephen Murray caused Glenavon problems.
“In October we had a back three but I don’t think that’s something we can go forward with all the time so it was 4-4-2 to allow us to keep two up.
“I trust our boys every week so when I’m disappointed after games it’s because I know what they can do and the quality.
“It’s an honest bunch and I don’t think they’ve got the wins they’ve deserved over the past few months.
“But last Saturday we didn’t impose ourselves enough on the game to win it...today we put our foot down and didn’t let off.
“It comes from the back four being solid, with Luke Wilson and Sam Warde controlling the midfield then fluidity in the front four.
“Previously the back four wasn’t high enough so that caused us problems but today we defended high.
“With players out on the pitch like Ben Tilney, Ben Guy, Lee Bonis and Stephen Murray you won’t really get a backwards step, so we encourage them.
“For our third goal, scored by Ben Guy, I was really pleased with Lee Bonis’ awareness to make the assist.
“He had gone through before and not scored but from day one coming in to this club he has always shown that ability to learn.
“Today he displayed that awareness to roll it over for Ben to score when in a good position.
“And Ben’s pass into Stephen Murray’s feet early in the move was superb then he didn’t just stop, he continued the run and got the goal.
“Possibly the change in system helped with Ben coming in off the wide areas and making it hard to get picked up.”
PORTADOWN: Carney, Hall, McCallum, Finnegan, Bonis, Murray (Conaty, 91), Wilson, Guy (Teggart, 82), Warde, Scannell (Lavery, 70), Tilney.
Subs (not used): Buchanan, McKeown, Tipton, Salley.
GLENAVON: Hyland, Coates, Purkis (A.Doyle, 43), Campbell (O’Mahony, 68), Hall, O’Connor, Fitzpatrick, McCloskey, Garrett, Ward, McNulty.
Subs (not used): Byrne, Snoddy, Harmon, J.Doyle.
REFEREE: Ian McNabb.