Cup performance the standard for four closing league fixtures

Portadown team up to halt a Ballymena attack in Saturday's Towns' Cup quarter-final defeat.
Portadown team up to halt a Ballymena attack in Saturday's Towns' Cup quarter-final defeat.

Portadown’s trophy bid may have ended with defeat on Saturday at Ballymena but the campaign can continue to provide targets for the Chambers Park seniors.

The 39-23 reverse away to Ballymena seconds left Portadown’s final opportunity for silverware this season - the Towns’ Cup - down and out at the quarter-final hurdle.

Now head coach Richard Hedley will attempt to revitalise his players for the four remaining Qualifying League tests.

A run of six consecutive league defeats highlights the problems within the Portadown performance levels this season but Hedley views a spot in the top four as a positive end product.

“We need a win this weekend but four from the final run of games should get us into the top four,” said Hedley. “That would help salvage something from the campaign and give everyone around the club a boost moving forward.

“I cannot fault any of the players in terms of effort on Saturday.

“Ballymena had something like six players involved who had lined out in a first-team midweek match.

“They would go down as the best I have seen this season but we put in a good display.

“We were 34-23 down with 10 minutes to go and put on quite a bit of pressure but just missed out on a vital score.

“They grabbed another before the whistle but the standard of performance was certainly one we will want to repeat.”

Portadown have three of final four league dates at Chambers Park - Dromore tomorrow (Saturday), Cooke and Ballyclare - with CIYMS next weekend the only remaining road trip.

“We tackled well against Ballymena seconds and created lots of chances, so must match that over the final weeks,” said Hedley. “The sides left on our fixture list sit around us in the table so every point will count, starting this weekend at home to Dromore.”

Play will start tomorrow at 2.30.