Portadown head into tonight’s high-profile Championship challenge against Ards aiming to bounce back from a midweek League Cup exit described as “unacceptable” by manager Matthew Tipton.
Dollingstown, the former Mid-Ulster Intermediate League club now operating in the domestic game’s third tier, secured a well-earned win at Shamrock Park by 2-1 on Tuesday.
Only a single division may currently divide the clubs in the Irish League ladder but it remains a result which casts concerns over the quality of Portadown’s squad for future tests given a line-up of players considered in first-team contention left trailing Dollingstown in terms of passion and performance.
“It was unacceptable and as disappointing coming off the pitch as I’ve been in a long time,” said Tipton. “We had some injuries but went in with a line-up selected towards winning the tie.
“It doesn’t impact on Friday’s side as that was already planned before the midweek match.
“What it does show me is what we have going forward and it is a missed opportunity for those players to impress and for the club to progress in the competition.
“Dollingstown came with a gameplan but we have to be better than that by moving the ball quickly.
“We were sloppy, didn’t show that desire to close and made mistakes.”
Now the Ports must regroup in advance of an away league date against a side sitting level on 10 points from the opening five Bluefin Sport Championship dates.
“Thankfully, football is not straightforward and at other times those players will come in and produce,” said Tipton. “We cannot do anything about that Dollingstown result but must go into Friday knowing standards cannot be allowed to drop in the same way.
“It may not have been the starting 11 of players who have been doing so well for us over the past few weeks in the league.
“But those selected have been sitting on the bench or watching from the sidelines waiting for a chance.
“Everyone works together in the same way so the frustration is, once handed an opportunity to come in, so many simply did not do what we work on every week.
“It cannot come down to individuals talking about needing more gametime or not having played together as that is why we do the groundwork in training as a group.
“We want to look at the bigger picture this season rather than the highs or lows of individual results but that is no excuse.”