Matthew Tipton holds hands up over mistakes so Portadown go back to basics

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton is going back to basics in a bid to push the Premiership’s basement side forward towards a welcome first league win.

A single point as the return from six outings in a second season back on the senior stage has led to Tipton searching for solutions.

And he will send the Ports out against Warrenpoint Town this weekend with a simple message - in contrast to the information overload he feels may have caused his players to lose focus in recent weeks.

“As manager it is my job to fix the problems and, from looking back over recent games, I think it could be a case of giving the players maybe too much information,” said Tipton, who guided Warrenpoint to promotion in his first management job before returning to a Portadown club he represented as a player and repeating the feat. “In the defeats to Carrick and Dungannon it seemed too often the players were playing without any real plan but instead just out of desperation.

Portadown manager Matthew Tipton. Pic by Pacemaker.

“Maybe that comes down to thinking about what they’ve been told too much and getting caught up in that rather than reacting to situations in the moment.

“When I look back over the past two games against Carrick and Dungannon I see players feeling the pressure possibly of those fixtures compared to previous games.

“Falling behind in both games only led to more desperation creeping in really as we pushed for a way back by ignoring what we are good at and just playing without any real sense of purpose.

“In those games I admit I also reacted to the fixtures and talk around what those games meant...which led to making changes to tactics that didn’t come off and created more problems.

“Against Dungannon we went with two up top, something that’s been a rarity for me since I became a manager.

“Then we finished the game with probably five attacking players in the final third.

“That was all done at the time to try and increase our attacking strengths of course - but it ended up leaving us at risk in midfield, plus with too many players in too small an area and getting in the way of each other.”

Having kicked off the campaign with a dramatic derby draw, the Ports lost out to Crusaders, Larne and Linfield - three clubs in contention for title honours.

Back-to-back defeats, however, to Carrick and Dungannon Swifts have increased the sense of frustration before facing Warrenpoint, another side ranked pre-season alongside the Ports as in that quartet facing a fight within the lower half of the top-flight table.

“I get how the reaction is different when you lose to Carrick or Dungannon compared to Larne or Linfield,” said Tipton. “But I cannot allow emotion to get in the way of looking at the bigger picture and realising the only way we can improve is by looking at everything within our group.

“As much as I understand the outside noise surrounding disappointing results, we can only control our own work and that is why it’s always about moving forward not looking back.

“We analyse and try to learn from what has gone wrong but snap decisions will never help.

“A football season is a long time and you have to remain calm and trust in the work done behind the scenes in training and that it can then be taken out on the pitch.

“The only way to get that first win is by approaching everything with a clear mind and putting your focus on the next challenge.

“We need to work smarter and get back to our strengths and what has gone right for us in the past.”


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