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Matthew Tipton: Portadown must now prove we're good enough to play in Premiership

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Matthew Tipton

Matthew Tipton

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Matthew Tipton

Portadown boss Matthew Tipton has challenged his players to use the remaining games to show they are capable of playing top-level football.

The Ports claimed only their second victory since early December thanks to a narrow success over Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

Lee Bonis (below) scored the winner late in the first half, moving them further away from the foot of the table.

Tipton was pleased with an assured performance from his players and believes they are starting to show real signs of progress.

"Dungannon played some nice football, they kept the ball well, but I don't think they penetrated us," he said.

"Our goalkeeper made one save in the first half, he took a few crosses, but he didn't have a barrage of shots coming in.

"The defence in front of him was superb - they blocked things and tracked runners really well."

Both sides have been in poor form - before yesterday they had two wins from their last 29 games combined - but it was Portadown who claimed the points, striking late in an entertaining first half.

Ben Guy won a 50-50 and played in Stephen Murray, who crossed to Barney McKeown on the edge of the box. His shot would probably have been easily gathered by Roy Carroll, but Bonis stretched out a foot to divert it away from the goalkeeper.

Earlier, Carroll had saved well from Nathan Kerr, reacting smartly to push his drive away from goal.

At the other end, Swifts midfielder Shane McGinty was denied by a fine double stop from Jacob Carney.

The Ports goalkeeper denied Swifts again early in the second half, thwarting Daniel Hughes after some promising build-up play.

Sub James Convie's free-kick struck the outside of the post late on, but the Ports easily held on.

Tipton added: "We have so much still to play for - who wants to finish bottom of the League?

"Not only that, these boys are playing to prove that they are good enough to be in the Premier League. For myself as a manager, am I good enough to be a Premier League manager, to sustain results and performances week-on-week?

"As the weeks have gone on, since the beginning of February, we have been on a real decent run of form in terms of performances.

"We are not going to win every week - we understand that - but we drew at Crusaders, at Coleraine and Larne, and against Cliftonville. We've had a couple of victories as well.

"For me, it shows signs of progress and I am delighted."

This was Dungannon's seventh loss in a row and boss Dean Shiels admits it cannot continue.

He said: "I sense there is a lack of self-belief in there, a lack of courage to go and get something from the game.

"We are in a run where we seem to be accepting losing - and that is not going to cut it for me."

DUNGANNON: Carroll 6, Coyle 6, McGee 6, Byers 6, M Smyth 6, Teggart 6, McGinty 6, Patton 6 (Forde, 68 mins, 5), Mayse 6 (Gallagher, 80 mins, 6), Hughes 5, Patterson 5 (Convie, 61 mins, 7). Unused subs: Johnston, Campbell, Glenny, O Smyth.

PORTADOWN: Carney 6, Kerr 7, McCallum 7, Finnegan 7, Tilney 7, Guy 6 (Conaty, 89 mins, 5), Tipton 6, McKeown 6, Lavery 6 (Scannell, 89 mins, 5), Bonis 7, Murray 7. Unused subs: Buchanan, Hall, Croskery, Warde, Healy

Referee: Jamie Robinson (Portadown) 6

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