Belfast Telegraph

Ports in pole position to start 2020 at top

Matthew Tipton
Matthew Tipton

By Stuart McKinley

Matthew Tipton will sacrifice style for substance as he chases a Boxing Day victory that would ensure his Portadown team enter 2020 as the top dogs in the Bluefin Sport Championship.

The Shamrock Park boss is under no illusions as to what awaits his players when they face Loughgall at Lakeview Park in a first v third derby tussle.

The only thing on Tipton's post-Christmas wish list is the three points that would ensure the Ports stay on top of the tree - and he doesn't care how they come.

"We drew 0-0 there on the opening day of the season and then we got a 2-1 win at home a few weeks ago," said Tipton.

"I think we know what is going to happen. It's going to be a tough, physical game against a team that has had a blip over the last month but, in general, they are a good team.

"They have an attacking threat and are fairly solid at the back. We know it's going to be a tight game.

"It's Boxing Day and the cliché is that form goes out the window on these occasions. It's just whoever performs best on the day, or maybe not the best, but the most effective on the day, which is what we'll probably be looking for - the most effective performance we can get.

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"It's a tight narrow pitch. Does it suit our attacking flair play? Probably not, but I think we can get joy from it."

Second-placed Ballinamallard United make the journey from Fermanagh to south-west Tyrone to take on Dergview, where they have already lost this season.

That was the second match of the season when Dergview made a solid start with four wins and two draws in their opening 11 games of the campaign.

They have, however, failed to record a victory since beating Knockbreda on the first weekend of October.

Bluefin Sport Championship fixtures: (3pm unless stated) Today: Knockbreda v Ards (2pm), Ballinamallard United v Dergview, Ballyclare Comrades v Newry City, Loughgall v Portadown. Saturday: PSNI v Queen's University (2pm), Dundela v H&W Welders.

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