Semi-final spot the reward as focus turns from league slump

Portadown lost out last weekend against Bangor.
Portadown lost out last weekend against Bangor.

Portadown firsts will hit the road this weekend aiming for another cup consolation to switch focus from a nightmare league slump.

Saturday’s defeat to Bangor by 17-10 marked a sixth successive Qualifying League reverse for Richard Hedley’s men.

However, knockout ties in the Towns’ Cup against Limavady and Dromore previously provided hope within the gloom of that dismal run of form.

A repeat transformation will be required tomorrow (Saturday) against Ballymena seconds - but the prize of a semi-final spot should serve as the ultimate motivation.

“Our league form is obviously frustrating and disappointing for everyone at the club,” said Hedley, the Chambers Park head coach. “However, we have set our sights on the Towns’ Cup from the start of the season so motivation should not be an issue.

“Against Limavady we put in a good performance for 50 minutes and also had dominant periods in the next round with Dromore.

“We have produced plenty of points in the Towns’ Cup and need another winning display this weekend.

“It should be a good game as Ballymena’s playing style probably suits our players compared to some of the teams we face in the league.”

The Bangor result arrived off the back of a demoralising 48-0 defeat by struggling Donaghadee.

“To be honest, you could see the players struggling to shake off that Donaghadee result in training and even on Saturday,” said Hedley. “However, the Bangor game featured a much-improved performance, with our tackling far stronger.

“It is impossible to just flick a switch from one competition to the next but we managed to show signs of moving in the right direction against Bangor.

“The Bangor game was better but there is more to come.”