Cliftonville 0 Portadown 1
Eddie’s seeing red at the man in black again ON A weekend where referees once again came under the spotlight, it was perhaps somewhat inevitable that Mark Courtney should emerge as the centre of attention at Solitude on Saturday.
The Dungannon official infuriated Cliftonville by waving away two injury-time penalty appeals and then showed skipper Chris Scannell a post-match red card for his protests over the decisions.
Exasperated as he was by the referee, Reds boss Eddie Patterson was nevertheless honest enough to admit that Portadown were good value for their win, which came courtesy of an awkward Richard Lecky strike 13 minutes from time.
“It’s a performance I think we’d like to forget about pretty quickly,” said Patterson.
“We haven’t really got going all afternoon and credit to Portadown because they deserved the points.
“However, we should still have been handed an opportunity to claw something back right at the end when Chris Scannell is clearly fouled inside the box and then a defender sticks his arm out and blocks a goalbound header from Rory Donnelly.
“That should have been two penalties. Would we have deserved a point? No, but that shouldn’t matter and the referee has a lot of explaining to do — and not just for his performance today.
“That’s twice now this season that Mark Courtney has taken charge of games at Solitude and everyone’s left the ground talking about him.”
Opposite number Ronnie McFall didn’t get too caught up in the farcical end to the match, which saw the ref blow the full-time whistle just as Cliftonville were expecting to be awarded a spot-kick.
“We deserved to win because we were the better team, I think it’s as simple as that,” he said. “We played some outstanding football at times, especially in the first half an hour.
“I was a wee bit concerned that we hadn’t really created any chances and it’s always in the back of your mind that it’ll come back to haunt you but I’m pleased that we kept going and we deserved to win.
“We’ve been down at the bottom end of the table for a reason and that’s because we’ve not been picking up enough points, so hopefully this can set us off on a decent run and we can lift ourselves up the league a bit.
“We’ve not really been getting the rewards we’ve deserved recently so to come to a very difficult venue, play against a good team, produce the better football and come away with three points is very encouraging.”