The final whistle at Shamrock Park on Saturday evening signalled the end of Portadown’s week to forget with a single-goal defeat to Coleraine.
Brad Lyons’ first-half finish proved decisive to give Coleraine an on-the-field victory a few days after the Irish Football Association’s ruling provided the club with a 3-0 win against the same opposition.
That verdict arrived within part of Portadown’s unsuccessful double appeal against IFA punishments relating to the contract status of Peter McMahon and non-payment of fines - with confirmation of a 12-point deduction also part of the damning report.
The verdict fall-out featured statements from supporters calling for resignations by the directors but club chairman Roy McMahon directing his frustration at the IFA for what he considered such a harsh verdict.
It was telling that the supporters served up warm applause in recognition of the players’ efforts on Saturday - but directed chants against the directors such as “Sack The Board”.
One director left after half-time and the chairman was involved in an exchange with a fan.
News of Pat McGibbon’s resignation as first-team manager the day before kick-off against Coleraine added to the drama. Vinny Arkins, the club’s all-time leading scorer, stepped up from assistant manager to interim boss on Saturday aiming to provide the same golden touch from the dug-out he enjoyed as a player.
However, Lyons’ finish was reward for a sparkling first-half performance by the visitors and Portadown’s pressure after the break lacked the cutting edge to gain any positive outcome for a spirited display.
Arkins may not hold the coaching qualifications required to take up the permanent role of first-team manager but has confirmed his desire to remain part of the Portadown set-up and play a role in turning around the club’s fortunes.
“I have a passion for this club and I am willing to work with anyone able to move Portadown forward,” said Arkins. “I’m not a magic bullet but, whoever has made mistakes, this is where we are at as a club.
“It is about building on a stable foundation and everyone must be realistic that it is going to take time.
“As a team we have had positive periods in games but need to turn all of those small moments into a big display that can tip the scales.
“Pat McGibbon is a good guy, one of football’s most genuine men.”
Oran Kearney described the past few days as a “Carlsberg” week.
“We got the win over Ards, points from the IFA, League Cup progress and now today’s victory at Shamrock Park,” said the Coleraine manager. “It was a strange situation with the evening kick-off and so much focus on Portadown but I told the players our challenge was that clean sweep.
“Credit to the players for producing a professional job and we are delighted with the win and clean sheet.
“We were frustrated going in at half-time just 1-0 up but lacked that ruthless edge after dominating.
“Portadown came back at us but we also managed to show we can grind it out.”
PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Carson, Oman, Breen, Rodgers (Rooney, 72), Hughes, Garrett, Henderson (Wilson, 85), Parker, Haire, Kirwan (Ferris, 78). Subs (not used): Larkin, Byrne.
COLERAINE: Johns, Mullan, Douglas, McCauley, McCafferty (Higgins, 85), Brown, Kee, McConaghie (Ogilby, 92), Lyons (Allan, 64), Parkhill, McGonigle. Subs (not used): Morrow, Whiteside.