McFall’s focus on “big step forward” by Ports

Darren Murray celebrates his goal with manager Ronnie McFall during Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Crusaders. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Darren Murray celebrates his goal with manager Ronnie McFall during Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Crusaders. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall is refusing to allow off-the-field events to detract from what he considers on-the-field progress.

Saturday’s Danske Bank Premiership match finished in a 3-1 victory for defending champions Crusaders - marking the Ports’ fifth successive defeat across all competitions.

The result arrived the day after a Board of Directors meeting in which a short statement confirmed that the long-serving Ports boss has “our backing until the end of the season”.

McFall will celebrate 29 years at Shamrock Park in December, with his current contract set to expire at the end of the season.

A small protest was held outside the ground on Saturday and a section of the home support proved vocal in opposition to the directors’ decision. A number also opted to boo following Darren Murray’s equaliser against Crusaders - with some critical of the act and others considering the action in relation to the striker’s celebration with his manager rather than the goal.

Weekend comments to the media by McFall included a quote in which he made reference to the fact that “we have a lot of genuine supporters, unfortunately we just have a bad element at the minute which has been about for a few years - it’s one particular supporters’ club”.

A statement released to the press and posted on Facebook by the Eden Reds Supporters’ Club called for clarification as to the fans’ group in question.

However, McFall is refusing to discuss events other than the performance of his team.

“I am not going to comment on anything other than football,” said McFall. “On Saturday, I felt we played more like ourselves and could have been two or three goals up at half-time.

“We didn’t take our chances but had big players missing and others having to play half-fit.

“However, it was a big step forward for us in term of the performance and you could see the commitment from the players.”