Portadown 0 Glentoran 1
One swallow doesn’t make a summer — and one win in eight outings doesn’t make for unbridled joy.
But struggling Glentoran’s manager Eddie Patterson saw this win against injury-riddled Portadown as a significant step back to sanity at the Oval.
“It’s been a tough year for the players,” he reasoned after an opportunist goal by Leon Knight settled the match on 52 minutes.
“Frankly, the spirit among the players wasn’t good when I took over, but that’s improving and this is a real sign of it.
“It’ll take time and patience, but I’m convinced we’re on the right track and it’ll show next season.”
It was a dull match, with both sides a bit flat, especially Portadown who are hanging gamely on to second spot in the league, despite having 10 first-teamers on the injury list — including Sean Mackle and Richard Lecky, both helped off on Saturday, adding to the casualty count.
“I’m not saying a word of criticism about this display,” manager Ronnie McFall insisted. “The 14 on the pitch have run themselves ragged for the club — they’re running on empty — but I’m confident we can lift ourselves at Coleraine next week, finish runners-up and grab a European spot.”
The goal was the only bright spot of Saturday’s game when Knight collected a pass from Richard Clarke before rounding his marker Garry Breen and whipping the ball hard and low across keeper Tuda Murphy to give him no chance.
“That’s what they pay me for,” Knight commented after the game.