Paul Doolin reality check his Portadown players ‘not that good’ after home loss

Portadown manager Paul Doolin has delivered a stark reality check in the aftermath of a weekend loss to Warrenpoint Town which reduced the relegation zone deficit to just nine points.

Kealan Dillon slotted home from the penalty spot at Shamrock Park as basement-based Warrenpoint started the post-split run with a welcome 1-0 win in the fight to preserve Premiership status.

The Ports entered the clash having opened up a significant advantage over Warrenpoint thanks to a positive run of form in recent weeks.

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However, defeat has served to increase the pressure on Portadown - with Doolin sending out a clear warning of the high stakes and high demands across the final four fixtures.

Portadown manager Paul Doolin watched his side fall to defeat on Saturday against Warrenpoint Town in the Danske Bank Premiership. Pic by Pacemaker.

“Anyone that thinks we should be wiping the floor with Warrenpoint needs to think again,” said Doolin. “Although we were 12 points ahead (before kick-off), we are still second bottom and not that good.

“I don’t mind saying that...but we’ve done brilliant to get the opportunity to get to where we are.

“We’ve now a nine-point lead with 12 points left - anything can happen.

“We had a lot of people making the wrong decisions, not staying on the ball.

“You must remember - and it’s a huge - they’re more experienced than us, they’ve players who have played around and we’ve still got younger players in our team.

“But we have to do better sometimes when we have the ball, taking the right option and right decision.

“This will probably go right down to the last game.

“They’re free coming here today - because everyone has them relegated.

“For us, we’ve something to lose now (a relegation play-off spot).

“Players have to learn if you’re here (at Portadown) there’s going to be expectation.

“But - at the minute - to have expectation about us wiping the floor with them (Warrenpoint), you’re making a mistake because we’re not ready as a team to do that.

“You have to be able to accept the pressure of playing but it’s different when you have a group of players who are experienced.

“The main things for us we are in a decent position as we are but we’ve got to make sure we don’t throw it away.

“There’s four games to go and we’ve got to try and believe we can get a win or results in those fixtures.

“It could be different next Saturday again...but if you want to be in the Premiership you’ve got to go and get results.

“Whether it was a penalty or not I can’t tell you but big Paddy (McNally) has said it hit him in the face.

“When you look at the 90 minutes, I didn’t think we were bad...I didn’t think we were brilliant but it’s the decision-making.

“I think when you look at the game, it was very similar to here last time (1-0 home win)...but we ended up scoring.

“They started quite good today and put us under a bit of pressure, hitting the post and with a few corners but then we got going.

“In the latter part of the first half we started to get a foothold in the game and then in the second half for the first 25 minutes we were very good but just couldn’t get that goal.

“We did our bit to get ourselves 12 points clear so now we have to go again...there’s no magic wand.”