Matthew Tipton hails star man Lee Bonis
Portadown boss Matthew Tipton lavished praise on goal hero Lee Bonis but admitted he may not be so complimentary once the January transfer window opens.
The 22-year-old turned in a five-star showing against Glentoran at the BetMcLean Oval on Saturday and his late equaliser helped earn Tipton’s boys a deserved point.
It must be said, it was another disjointed display from Mick McDermott’s side, who were booed off at the finish – not the first time this season.
They haven’t won a Danske Bank Premiership game in front of home fans since September 10, which is hardly the stuff of champions.
Although Conor McMenamin shot them into an early lead, Ports defender Michael Ruddy headed the equaliser just two minutes before the break.
The tide appeared to sway in favour of the team with 21 minutes remaining when Jay Donnelly converted from the spot after Adam McCallum appeared to have handled a Ruaidhri Donnelly header on the line, which earned the big defender a red card.
But Bonis had other ideas. Ports goalkeeper Jethren Barr’s monster free kick on 81 minutes was met by the head of the big striker, who got up above the stranded Ross Glendinning, and his effort rolled into the empty net.
“It’s a couple of months before the transfer window opens, so I can safely praise him,” laughed Tipton. “Seriously, he epitomises everything we want in our players with his bravery and his goal sums that up.
“That’s why he is captain of this team. I want my captain to lead by example and Lee does that from minute one. His goal capped off a great performance, but there is plenty more to come from him.”
Bonis admitted once he spotted Barr’s free kick in the air, he knew what he was doing.
“When the ball came in, the first thing that I thought about was the goal I scored against Larne last season, which was similar,” he said. “I back myself every time to beat the goalkeeper in situations like that.
“I’m a striker, I want to score goals . . . I’m going to challenge for every ball. I sustained a bit of impact from the keeper and then I landed on my side. I think I’ve torn something, but there is nothing broken.”
Although satisfied with the point, Bonis believes his team’s performance deserved more.
“We’ve showed we can match the bigger teams in this League . . . the Linfields, Glentorans and Larnes,” he added. “We were happy to have something to show from the game, but I thought we deserved all three points.
“I back ourselves week in, week out regardless of the opposition. This performance shows we can do it.”
The mood wasn’t so jovial in the home dressing room. Glentoran assistant boss Paul Millar admitted that elementary mistakes are proving costly.
“We conceded two awful goals,” he moaned. “The guy (Ruddy) got a free header for the first goal – poor. Ross missed his punch for the seond – poor. It was down to people not doing their jobs.
“The disappointing thing is we couldn’t see it out when they were down to 10 men. Overall, we were poor. Our home record speaks for itself . . . we are conceding too many goals.
“We were playing against a team in the lower part of the division, with all respect to them, they were down to 10 men, and we still couldn’t get over the line. It’s so frustrating.
“We are eight matches in, we need to get the finger out. If there are changes to be made, they’ll be made. If the boys need a boot up the backside, they’ll get it.
“I think some of our players must start doing the dirty stuff, in terms of work rate. You just can’t do nice stuff all the time.”