IRISH LEAGUE: Currie confident of long-term progress with Portadown despite Ards blow

Ken Oman - who was sent off for Portadown in the first half - winning the ball over Ards' Ross Arthurs at Shamrock Park. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Ken Oman - who was sent off for Portadown in the first half - winning the ball over Ards' Ross Arthurs at Shamrock Park. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

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Time may be running out to save this season for Portadown but manager Niall Currie is adamant he can eventually turn around the club’s fortunes.

Currie left Ards late last year to take up a post at Shamrock Park with his hometown club rooted to the bottom of the table.

A 3-0 defeat marked Ards’ first league win of 2017 and added to the hosts’ relegation fears.

“It was humiliating today but I didn’t say anything to the players as you cannot keep on saying the same things,” said Currie. “I’ve no doubt I will get this right and I will be given time so I cannot wait and am very excited about the future of the club.

“The supporters deserve better and I don’t care if it was against 10 men or not.

“I’ve to take responsibility but there’s a collective responsibility too, you can legislate for a missed penalty and going down to 10 men but we went out with a whimper.

“I’ve a lot of friends at Ards and great relationships but no one wanted to win more today then me.

“There is a deep-seeded problem at the club that has been going on too long.

“Sometimes things are just accepted but it won’t be by me or my staff and it shouldn’t be by the board or supporters.

“The stick we got was fully deserved and you can try to change the mentality but can you change character?

“We are trying hard, our training sessions are fantastic so it is extremely frustrating to see it not being replicated on the pitch.

“Certain moments in games are very important but you’ve got to have something about you as well in digging deep and doing things properly.

“I’m down and extremely disappointed but I didn’t say anything to the players after the game as reading the riot act can sometimes just fall on deaf ears.

“We don’t give ourselves a chance and have to change the dynamics and mentality but will do that, in the long run.”

Kyle Cherry broke the deadlock before four frantic minutes featured a red card for Ken Oman and penalty save by Aaron Hogg off Niall Henderson. Ards increased the advantage with second-half strikes from Ross Arthurs and substitute Matthew Shevlin.

Giullaume Keke made the most of the extra space to prove a constant threat to the Ports backline in the second half.

“I thought we looked sharp and dangerous from the word go and you can talk about the sending off but we scored three and could have had more goals,” said Ards boss Colin Nixon, who watched his side bounce back from the previous week’s 4-0 reverse to Carrick Rangers. “You cannot take away from my players, they were fantastic from start to finish and I believe in this group.

“It was the response we were hoping for as last week was a really strange match but I’m not going to dwell on it.

“We took a lot of flak for it so I was hoping the boys would come out as they’ve been training really well.

“It was a great penalty save, they are a lottery but it was a fantastic save.

“Giullaume Keke is an enigma, I played with him at Larne and know what he can do so I’m just trying to get it out of him.

“From one to 16 they all played their part.

“At half-time I said keep doing what you are doing.

“Since we’ve come in we have changed the training and upped the tempo.

“Last week wasn’t good enough so I’m just trying to focus them and that was a first clean sheet in quite a while, we didn’t look like conceding a goal.

“It was up there in terms of performances since we came in and we have had a few defeats but maybe not had the rub of the green.

“Defensive stability is critical, it’s only one match with a lot of games to be played so we’ve got to keep working hard and transmitting the belief on to the pitch.”