McFall shrugs off pitch talk after Ards win

Portadown's Darren Murray celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1 against Ards
Portadown's Darren Murray celebrates after scoring to make it 1-1 against Ards

Ronnie McFall has dismissed reports that Portadown are set to install a 3G pitch at Shamrock Park.

The Ports beat Ards 2-1 on an artificial surface at Clandeboye Park, with Darren Murray and Emmet Friars scoring in an impressive second half comeback.

McFall dismissed the suggestion that Portadown might be about to go plastic, stating: “I wouldn’t read to much into it.”

McFall continued: “Bangor’s pitch has improved since the last time we played on it. It looked as if they now have more of the black rubber crumb on it, which makes it more like Solitude. The first time we played here was the first Premiership match on it and maybe it hadn’t quite settled in yet.

“For me, Crusaders’ pitch needs to be dug up and relaid, as it’s not fit for football, in my opinion.”

Portadown retained third place and took a step closer to the Europa League place with one goal win over basement side Ards, despite being a goal down at half time.

Reflecting on the win, McFall said: “It was a vital win for us because we want to finish third so we can be guaranteed European football next season. Crusaders are on our coat tails, so it was vital that we got the win today and beat Warrenpoint Town next win, before the split.

“Ards started well but I think after the first half an hour our quality shone through. We got the ball down and used it well and I think we deserved our win in the end.”

Ards took the lead in the 22nd minute when William Faulkner raced onto a long pass from David Armstrong. Midfielder Faulkner lifted the ball over the head of the advancing David Miskelly, to score his ninth goal of the league season.

Portadown equalised in the 47th minute when Chris Casement’s corner-kick was flicked on by Garry Breen at the near post. Darren Murray was on hand to nod the ball home from a yard out.

The winner arrived in the 61st minute when Ards failed to defend another Casement corner. This time it was defender Emmet Friars who headed the ball beyond Alan Blayney.

Ards pushed for an equaliser, but Niall Currie’s men were unable to grab the all important fourth goal.

Currie said: “I don’t think there was a big difference between the two sides. Watching the game, you wouldn’t know we are in a relegation battle and they’re in a European race. We’re playing well at the moment.”