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Portadown boss Pat McGibbon calls for united front for sake of fans

Portadown 0-1 Coleraine

By Stuart McKinley

Published 14/03/2016

Making a point: caretaker Portadown boss Pat McGibbon
Making a point: caretaker Portadown boss Pat McGibbon

Pat McGibbon has vowed to set about uniting the club after a whirlwind week at Portadown.

A frenetic seven days at Shamrock Park, in which Ronnie McFall's resignation as manager after 29 years was followed by revelations that the club could face relegation from the Danske Bank Premiership over illegal payments, ended with a 1-0 home defeat to Coleraine.

The nature of the loss, with the Bannsiders' winner coming just 10 minutes from the end, was harder to take for caretaker boss McGibbon than the defeat itself.

There were few chances created in the opening 80 minutes and the youthful Ports team, which had just two outfield players over the age of 28 and 21-year-old Mikey Withers as the oldest of the five substitutes, fell to Rodney Brown's close-range finish after Jamie McGonigle had sent the ball back across the face of goal from James McLaughlin's left-wing cross.

Coleraine had looked the most likely team to win the game, with the Ports defence having to clear after an earlier Brown header from a corner hit goalkeeper David Miskelly in the chest as the visitors controlled a low-key second half.

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There would, however, have been few arguments if the shares had been spoiled, which was recognised as the home support, which has felt a disconnect between themselves and the boardroom in recent times, applauded as their team left the pitch.

"We had a good support and they clapped the lads off the pitch at the end, which was great to see," said McGibbon.

"We just want to give them a result - we want to give them a win and the sooner we do that the better.

"We need a load of cohesion between the management, players, board and supporters between now and the end of the season."

In terms of team selection McGibbon's hands were tied, especially when Philip Lowry was forced to pull out rather than flying in from London on Saturday morning.

The interim boss hopes that McFall's last major signing at the club hasn't played his last game in a Portadown shirt.

"There will need to be a conversation with Philip," said McGibbon.

"He is going to be away for almost a week with work. He's away to Hong Kong, which is a bit of a distance so we will just have to see how he is.

"I told him that he's a big player for us and I don't think we've really seen the best of him yet.

"Hopefully he will come and put a big shift in for us because his energy levels are good, he'll score a goal and he'll run late into the box and I think that's what we need as well."

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Ramsey, Breen, Oman, Redman, Mackle, Mouncey (Withers, 78 mins), Casement, Garrett, Parker, Soares (Ferris, 70 mins). Unused subs: Marron, Wilson, Judge

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Beverland, Ogilby, Mullan, Brown, Higgins, Harkin, McCauley, McLaughlin, McGonigle. Unused subs: Doherty, Watt, Parkhill, Kanwischer

Man of the match: Ken Oman

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)

Belfast Telegraph

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