IRISH LEAGUE: Week of woe for the Ports

Brad Lyons celebrates breaking the deadlock in Coleraine's defeat of Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Brad Lyons celebrates breaking the deadlock in Coleraine's defeat of Portadown. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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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.

Referee: Davey.