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Matthew Tipton: I was an idiot for criticising coronavirus-hit Portadown after their recent defeats

Portadown 0 Ballymena United 0

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Matthew Tipton

Matthew Tipton

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Matthew Tipton

Matthew Tipton issued a public apology to his Portadown players a week after declaring that he was 'embarrassed' watching them lose 5-0 to Cliftonville.

Tipton himself was among a number of players and staff affected by an outbreak of coronavirus at the Shamrock Park club, which caused the postponement of one match and the cancellation of training for two weeks when their entire squad was forced to self isolate immediately after losing 4-1 to Carrick Rangers last month.

Given the context, the performance at Solitude was understandable, as was Tipton's reaction in the immediate aftermath.

With seven days to reflect and a display full of desire and commitment as the Ports kept a first clean sheet of the season in their 0-0 draw at home to Ballymena United, Tipton admitted that he was the one in the wrong.

"I can't take back what I said last week and my disappointment in losing those previous two games because they have gone, but I'm going to give the players a by-ball now because they have turned up and that's more like them," said Tipton.

"We've players suffering with coronavirus. I see people ending up in hospital with this and I'm asking players to go and play with it. I'm some kind of idiot, aren't I?

"I didn't know they had it in the Carrick game because it only came to light the day after when the symptoms started showing, but they still played with it in their system because it's 48 hours before you show the symptoms.

"They played a game of football with this disease that is killing people and I am crying because I don't think they are putting in enough effort, so that tells you somebody is wrong - and it's not the players.

"They go to Cliftonville last week after one training session and I'm saying we're not doing this, we're not doing that and it wasn't quick enough. It wasn't that they didn't try, they tried the best they could, it's just the best was down there. They were knackered and you can't do it.

"This week we were better because we'd had another week of training and another week of the virus being out of their system for those who had it. That's all I want from them - try their best every game and compete."

After securing a first point of the season at Shamrock Park, Tipton now wants to see further home improvement, saying: "We fixed the leak, now we've maybe got to improve the bathroom by getting some nice tiles on the wall and putting a new sink in."

PORTADOWN: Pierce, Finnegan, McNally (McCallum, 33 mins), Healy, Hall, B McKeown (Kerr, 67 mins), Wilson, Teggart, Lavery, Salley, Bonis. Unused subs: Pengelly, Tipton, McGrandles, Croskery, Conaty.

BALLYMENA UNITED: Williamson, Balmer, Addis, C Kelly, Hume, Millar, J Kelly, McCartan (Winchester, 82 mins), Redman, McElroy, McCready (Waide, 71 mins). Unused subs: Glendinning, Kane, O McKeown, Harpur, Waide, Ervin.

Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)

Man of the match: Kofi Balmer

Match rating: 5/10

Belfast Telegraph


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