Pragmatic Portadown ‘realistic about where we are and our ambitions’

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton praised the pragmatic approach of his players following Friday’s ‘helter skelter’ derby draw with Glenavon.

Monday, 30th August 2021, 2:55 pm

Injury-time goals apiece within the space of a few moments had the Ports flying high on 91 minutes from Paul Finnegan’s finish before Michael O’Connor steered in a free-kick to turn the tables and gave the away fans cause for cheer.

The first goal of the hosts’ Premiership season arrived off the first shot on target by Portadown on opening night of a second campaign back on the big stage.

And Tipton feels his players can draw on the added experience from last season towards adapting for future gains.

Centre-back Paul Finnegan tucks away Portadown's first goal of the season after 91 minutes of the opening fixture at Shamrock Park against Glenavon on Friday in a game that finished 1-1. Pic by Pacemaker.

“As a football manager it’s my job to pick up points how I can,” said Tipton. “Sometimes that can be down to defending well, putting our bodies on the line and working hard...which we did tonight.

“Every game’s going to be a battle in this league but we’re realistic about where we are and our ambitions.

“I think we are better than what people think but our target is to get more points than last year, whichever way we do that.

“I do think we have a year in the league behind us so extra know-how.

“We got better over last season, brought better players into the club, got rid of those not cutting it and have improved now on what we had last year.
“We had to set up a gameplan against Glenavon who, pretty much, play 2-4-4 with the way the full-backs push on.

“We finished ninth last year as a newly-promoted team, Glenavon’s ambitions are to get into the top six again where they’ve been over the years and with the signings they’ve made bringing three in from Linfield and Danny Wallace, one of the better defenders in the league.

“So, as much as I want to do it, we’re not going to dominate the ball and I’m realistic.

“I think the last five minutes summed up the previous 90 minutes - it was helter skelter.

“It never settled down and was hell for leather.

“At half-time I spoke to the guys and told them I understood it was the first game of the season and a derby but we needed to show more composure.

“It took until the 92nd minute for someone to do it and a decent bit of play...but then Michael O’Connor scores a super goal.

“All-in-all, I suppose I’m pleased with the draw as they had more territory.

“What Glenavon do is good - they’re good at throw-ins and corners and play a lot for it to put us under pressure...but we stood up to it.”

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