We undid our good work in the first 40 minutes by conceding two terrible goals, says Portadown manager Niall Currie after BetMcLean Cup final defeat

Portadown manager Niall Currie believes his side’s performance was 95% on the money – but the other 5% played a major role in their 3-1 defeat in the BetMcLean Cup final.
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The Ports made a bright start at Windsor Park as Eamon Fyfe and Ryan Mayse both had goal bound efforts blocked by the Linfield rearguard, with Matthew Fitzpatrick hitting the crossbar at the other end.

However, two goals in four minutes before the half-time whistle would give Portadown an uphill task as Linfield scored from two corner-kicks as Ben Hall headed home, before Luke Wilson netted into his own net from Joel Cooper’s delivery.

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The game was over as a contest on 56 minutes as Rhys Annett fired into an empty net after the striker was picked out by the impressive Kyle McClean.

Portadown manager Niall Currie believes his side were 95% perfect in the BetMcLean Cup final defeat to LinfieldPortadown manager Niall Currie believes his side were 95% perfect in the BetMcLean Cup final defeat to Linfield
Portadown manager Niall Currie believes his side were 95% perfect in the BetMcLean Cup final defeat to Linfield

To their credit, Portadown kept pushing and grabbed a goal their play deserved as Fyfe headed in from Mayse’s cross with 15 minutes to go but that was as good as it got.

Currie rued the manner of the two goals his side conceded which he labelled as “terrible” – despite acknowledging how well his side had started.

“It was really frustrating,” he sighed. “For just over 40 minutes, everything was going to plan. In fact, it was perfect.

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“Our press was good; the timing of our press was spot on and our discipline was top drawer. We were a threat on the break...we looked dangerous on three or four occasions.

“It was actually too good to be true from our end. From what we worked on all week, everything was bang on. Ultimately, we undid that good work.

“Let’s be frank and honest about it, the two goals we conceded before the break were terrible. When a ball comes into your box, you need to put their head on it.

“We had opportunities to clear the ball – we should never have got into that situation. We lost the front part of our zonal marking, but that will not happen again.

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“It was just too easy. We had the opportunity to clear the ball, it’s really frustrating as a manager. After that, we needed the half-time whistle.

“If there had been another 10 minutes in that half, we would have come in five goals down. We lost our heads; we lost our composure for little period that ultimately cost us the game.

“Whenever you get to elite levels and playing against the top teams in this country, you’ve got be perfect on the day. We were 95 per cent perfect in every way.

“But that five per cent makes a huge difference.”

Currie stressed that he wouldn’t swap the deep runs in all the cup competitions to focus on Championship duty.

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He added: "I wouldn't take away any of our cup runs, even though I know some of our support and certain people would wish our cup runs hadn't been as busy but I wouldn't change a thing.

"I don't think I'd change a day at Windsor to play in a senior Cup final, the Mid-Ulster Cup final win or the Irish Cup run.

"It's probably hurt us squad wise in terms of our league campaign but we've got everyone back now for the rest of the campaign.”