South Africa’s Jethren Barr with firm drive to repay faith from Portadown family

Portadown had goalkeeper Jethren Barr to thank for Saturday’s point against league leaders Cliftonville - but the South Africa-born goalkeeper feels he is the one with the debt of gratitude.

Barr signed with the Shamrock Park club at the start of the season and has enjoyed some impressive form between the posts, with acrobatic stops and assured overall play central to the weekend draw.

Having moved in front, Portadown spent much of the second half on the backfoot under sustained pressure from Cliftonville but secured a welcome share of the spoils at the final whistle.

Barr played a major hand in helping the Ports seal any reward - but he was quick to pass on the praise.

Jethren Barr with his Portadown Supporters’ Society ‘Man-of-the-Match’ award presented by Phoebe, Violet and Margot Dunlop on behalf of sponsors Portadown Driving School. Pic courtesy of Portadown FC

“I have to credit God first...I’m happy to be in Northern Ireland,” said Barr, who lives in Ballyclare with his sister. “The whole team did really, really well, credit to Greg Hall and Paul Finnegan, I thought they were absolutely fantastic.

“We were unlucky not to hold on to the three points but it has been the story of our season.

“I think we are the team that has dropped the most points from a winning position.

“We’ve had a string of injuries in the team and we’re throwing 16,17,18 year olds in.

“It’s always going to be a fight no matter who we play - week in, week out we are grinding for points.

“But we have to keep going and I think that next win will come.

“We are delighted with a point, playing against Cliftonville, Linfield, Larne...we’ve held them all here (at Shamrock Park).

“But those are all games we could have ended up actually winning so I think we have just been unfortunate.

“I think we need more composure...there are a lot of young players in the team and they don’t have that experience of hanging on to the lead.

“But I feel like we are gaining momentum and experience every week.

“It’s the first time I’m playing in the mud like this, I’ve never felt this cold before...but I’ve had lots of action to keep warm!

“I’ve been awarded the ‘Man-of-the-Match’ so am absolutely delighted, I can say to my family now my hard work is starting to pay off.

“So I’m really happy with that...but I cannot take all the credit today, the whole team really defended well together.

“I was really blown away by the welcome when I arrived here, it’s not often a foreigner coming to a team would get such a welcome.

“I didn’t take it for granted and just want to repay everyone’s faith in bringing me here with performances like that today.

“If I can just keep doing that week in, week out I think I can repay the confidence.

“I know there’s lot of big shoes to fill so I just hope I can continue that legacy of Portadown producing top-class goalkeepers.”

Portadown: Barr, Hall, Ruddy, Finnegan, McKeown, Salley, Bonis, Conaty (Warde, 91), S.Teggart (Tipton, 83), McLeod, Jordan.

Subs (not used): Doherty, Anderson, Glenfield, E.Teggart.

Cliftonville: McNicholas, McDermott, Ives, C.Curran, R.Curran, O’Neill, Lowe, Addis, Turner, Gallagher (McDonagh, 50), Kearns (Gormley, 32).

Subs (not used): Dunne, Harney, Donnelly, Doherty, Coates.

referee: Steven Gregg

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