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Ports need senior stars to lead way: Currie

Cliftonville 3 - Portadown 0

By Conor McLaughlin

Portadown's experienced players need to stand up and be counted before it's too late to rescue the club from relegation, says boss Niall Currie.

The Mid-Ulster side remain nine points adrift at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership following Saturday's 3-0 defeat to a dominant Cliftonville at Solitude.

The Reds made it 12 consecutive wins over Portadown - all without conceding a goal - courtesy of first-half strikes from Jude Winchester, Jay Donnelly and Chris Curran, leaving Currie to ruefully reflect on a miserable afternoon.

"It was a really poor performance and we carried six players, in my opinion," he said.

"You can get away with maybe carrying one or two, but not six.

"We have people missing and, yes, there are young players in there and people being asked to do jobs in certain positions but my problem wasn't with them - it's some of the senior lads I'm looking at.

"I think we need those experienced players to step up to the plate because they are the ones who can get us out of the trouble we're in, but it has to start now - time's running out.

"What shocks me is how poor the goals we concede are.

"Everything was going okay here and then, all of a sudden, we're undone by a 40-yard ball over the top. I learned how to defend those situations in the BB at seven years of age. It was the same against Glenavon last week. Those type of goals are unacceptable and I've told certain individuals that.

"We need to have a foundation at the back but, at the minute, the goals we're giving away are sucking the life out of everything else, like a domino effect. We've got to cut out the schoolboy errors."

Opposite number Gerard Lyttle was understandably more upbeat when he said: "I thought we were brilliant in the first half. We spoke at half-time about not taking our foot off the pedal and how we wanted more goals but you're always happy with a clean sheet and three points.

"We were on it from the first whistle and continued it right through the first half."

CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, McGovern, Ives, McGuinness, Curran, M Donnelly, Hughes, Winchester, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, Nelson. Subs: J Mooney, McDaid (J Donnelly, 69 mins), Lavery, Finnegan (McGuinness, 71 mins), Haire (Winchester, 63 mins).

PORTADOWN: McGaughey, Richardson, Carson, Oman, Breen, Henderson, Mouncey, Garrett, McGerrigan, Foley, McAllister. Subs: Larkin, Mulvenna (Mouncey, 34 mins), Holmes (Foley, 81 mins), Megaw, Soares (McAllister, 83 mins).

Referee: Steven Gregg (Ballyclare)

Man of the match: Kym Nelson

Match rating: 7/10


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