McFall hits out at critics and calls for squad focus

Martin Marron out to punch the clear the danger during his second first-team debut for Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Martin Marron out to punch the clear the danger during his second first-team debut for Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall has defended his club’s disciplinary record in the face of weekend criticism following a red card for Robert Garrett.

Statistics reported by a number of sources marked Garrett’s dismissal as the seventh by Portadown across the past eight Mid-Ulster derby dates - with 72 bookings from this season’s 28 league fixtures.

However, McFall has hit out at the criticism and questioned the motives for putting Portadown under such a spotlight.

“It is easy to run around talking about figures and highlight our disciplinary record but I have no doubt other clubs would be in a similar situation,” said McFall. “When you analyse it, the majority of our red cards come off second bookings.

“This season I cannot recall too many, if any, bookings for dissent and many fouls can be considered borderline decisions by the match officials.

“In fact, I can think of examples such as Michael Gault against Glenavon on Boxing Day, Darren Murray against Crusaders and Ken Oman recently against Linfield that I would really question.

“I do not know why the focus always seems to be on our record and not some other clubs.”

Garrett’s red arrived at Mourneview Park on Saturday as part of what McFall described as a “sequence of events” which contributed significantly to the defeat.

“The first half was as poor as I can remember but we were in the ascendancy in the second, Chris Casement should have scored then did get a goal before a sequence of events killed the game.

“David Miskelly’s injury and the need to bring on a young goalkeeper in Martin Marron, he was then unable to hold on to a shot and they scored from the rebound plus Robert Garrett’s red.

“It is not about a physical issue but rather mental it seems with the players.

“The players must take responsibility and cannot hide behind my back forever, especially with such a senior group.

“They get paid to do a job and must be professional in making sure they go into every game the right way and with the right desire.”