Belfast Telegraph

Portadown happy to be on track for Europe

Ards 1 Portadown 2: Portadown boss Ronnie McFall was delighted with the comeback win over Ards which kept his men on track for Europa League qualification.

Trailing to Willie Faulkner's dinked finish after 22 minutes, the Ports levelled through Darren Murray's close-range header before defender Emmet Friars nodded home the winner just past the hour.

"It was a vital win for us because we want to finish third so we can be guaranteed European football next season," said McFall.

"Crusaders are on our coat-tails, so it was vital that we got the win today and beat Warrenpoint Town next week, before the split. Ards started well but I think after the first half an hour our quality shone through. We got the ball down and used it well and I think we deserved our win.

"We knew this was going to be a difficult game because Ards are fighting for their lives."

Ards manager Niall Currie felt his side could have learned lessons from the training pitch.

"The biggest disappointment for me is that two set-pieces changed the game," he said.

"We worked on our set-piece defending during the week because we knew all about Chris Casement's delivery, but they still got the better of us. That's very frustrating.

"That said, I don't think there was a big difference between the the two sides."

Ards: Blayney, Gibson, Armstrong, Cully, Burns, Arthurs (Dougan, 66 mins), Downey (Knowles, 52 mins), Faulkner, McMillen, Cleary (McClelland, 57 mins), Mitchell.

Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, Breen, Friars, O'Hara, Mackle, Mouncey, McCafferty, Barton, Murray, Twigg.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Fermanagh).

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