Matthew Tipton’s pre-match message centred on points on the table over miles on the map as Loughgall came to Shamrock Park for a derby date with just one spot in the league standings splitting the sides.
His post-match viewpoint highlighted frustration at the negative aspects of getting caught up in a derby atmosphere - but, ultimately, relief at achieving his goal of three points.
Around 700 fans turned out to support a game in which local bragging rights took a backseat to the fact victory for the Villagers would have cut the gap on league leaders, Portadown, to just three points.
Portadown struggled for long spells in the face of Loughgall’s energy and enthusiasm but took another key step towards promotion out of the Bluefin Sport Championship by coming out on top.
“We need to be better overall but, thankfully, it didn’t cost us today,” said Tipton. “We want to play better obviously and win.
“Today, we scored one goal more than the opposition and can look at the rest in training.
“We’ve set our standards high as that’s what it takes to be successful, so we’ve come off with a win but I’m not happy.
“We didn’t score good goals as such and there was no real rhythm to the game.
“We’ve dissected the Loughgall goal and there were so many things wrong.
“But we’ve got something here now not previously at the club in terms of character and mentality.
“A lot of our signings were made with us asking questions about belief and they’ve shown that at times, including today.
“We had people willing to show that courage to keep on despite not playing well.
“Our passing too often was either intercepted or short, the movement was wrong and decision-making overall wasn’t right.
“It was a proper derby but we contributed to that by not playing our way so couldn’t take that aspect out of the match.
“We had some moments but too few and far between.
“What we were trying didn’t work and Loughgall deserve credit for that but we didn’t play the ball at the right tempo.
“Thankfully, we’ve the opportunity to change the game with our substitutions.
“Aaron Duke came on and did well, Chris Lavery and Ryan Carmichael may not have directly affected the game on the ball but gave Loughgall something else to think about overall.
“We’ve spoken a lot together about the situation, it’s constant dialogue and working on things in training, so I could see evidence of that when Aaron came on.
“We’ve been without our wide players in Chris and Ryan for so long due to injuries, so have been playing with either four central midfielders or a narrow three in both midfield and up top.
“Overall, for us it’s about having the mental strength to stay switched on - to be brave and respond to situations.”