Pat McGibbon has confirmed delight at the defensive display against Ballinamallard United that secured Portadown a first league point under his control as caretaker manager.
McGibbon stepped in as an interim replacement following the resignation of Ronnie McFall and suffered defeats across the four Danske Bank Premiership games leading up to last weekend’s scoreless draw at Shamrock Park.
The result marked a welcome reward for what McGibbon views as positive steps towards a move away from relegation concerns - with the Ports four points clear of the drop zone entering the final four fixtures.
“That point helps to stop the rot and the key, for me, was our defensive display,” said McGibbon. “From David Miskelly as goalkeeper to across the back four and Michael Gault offering protection in front, it was a stable base.
“Clean sheets will be crucial as the foundation to give our attacking players the best chance to get a goal.
“To have Gary Twigg and Mark McAllister together up front gave us extra experience, along with having people like Sean Mackle on the substitutes’ bench.
“At this point of the season you want experience and some depth but obviously the long-term goal is to promote youth as much as possible.
“It was probably harsh on Nathaniel Ferris starting on the bench and we kept Matthew Parker in at left-back, with both having been so impressive in the previous game.
“We moved Ross Redman into an advanced role along the left wing and continue to look at ways of adjusting formations or tactics to get the most out of the players available to us.”
Portadown have now entered the post-split stage of league fixtures, with every point crucial in helping to preserve the club’s senior status.
“Players can get a bit nervous at this stage of the campaign because of the importance of every point,” said McGibbon. “We are working hard towards getting results.
“It is about maximising every opportunity, for example, we have moved in the width of the pitch to try and suit our circumstances more at this point.”