Dungannon Swifts 3 Portadown 1
Matthew Tipton was brutally honest after what was to be his last game as Portadown manager.
He and the Shamrock Park side parted company yesterday with the Ports seven points from safety after a dismal defeat at Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.
Tipton acknowledged they deserved nothing from the game, saying they lacked confidence, belief and ideas.
He contrasted it with the previous week’s impressive effort against Coleraine and said their lack of consistency is a big reason behind their struggles.
“There are more questions than answers now,” Tipton said, the main one now being who comes in to try to steer the club to safety.
“While we performed well last week against Coleraine, we are back to the old adage of do we just raise our game when it suits us, in terms of all the players being on it?
“Against a team near us today, we haven’t raised our game, but you shouldn’t be raising your game, you should have a level of performance, and it doesn’t look like we have that.
“It is too up and down all over the place. That is the reason why we are where we are.”
With the Ports starting the day six points behind Dungannon, this was a big chance to cut the deficit, but they were second best from the start, with Cahal McGinty heading the Swifts into an eighth minute lead.
Jamal Dupree had a shot well saved by goalkeeper Declan Dunne, but otherwise the Ports offered little.
Darragh McBrien doubled the lead with a brilliant second, sweeping home after swapping passes with Oisin Smyth.
Ben Gallagher added a late third, before Oisin Conaty pulled one back in stoppage time.
Tipton had moved to bring in 21-year-old English striker Elliott Dugan, but wasn’t signed in time to feature against Dungannon.
He may be available for tomorrow night’s clash with Crusaders, but Tipton will not get the chance to see the striker play.
Dungannon, meanwhile, have won their last four games in all competitions for the first time since August 2019.
Boss Dean Shiels fielded a young side with eight players aged 21 or under and he was pleased with the result and performance.
“We knew the importance of the game and the players came out and performed,” he said.
“At the big moments, the big players showed up and we are delighted with the win.”
The Swifts are nine points clear of the bottom two and Shiels feels they are finally showing their true potential.
“Four wins in-a-row is great, no matter where you are,” he said. “When you’re where we are you can see the progress, with the points and also the performances. There is belief, there is hunger.
“We have been playing really well this season, but people don’t believe that unless they see wins and points.”
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Dunne, McGee, McKendry, C McGinty, Glynn, Devlin (Coyle 87), Smyth, Campbell (Walsh 87), McBrien (Knowles 64), Mayse (Convie 83), McCready (Gallagher 83)
Subs not used: Nelson, Glenny
PORTADOWN: Barr, Hall, Finnegan, Beverland, Jordan (Lavery 58), Doherty, Ruddy, Smith (Lusty 58), Dupree (Conaty 58), Teggart, Salley
Subs not used: Doherty, McCallum, McKeown, Tipton
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)
Man of the match: Cahal McGinty
Match rating: 7/10