A belter from forward Johnny Stewart helped Portstewart to a fine victory over Glebe Rangers at a muddy Seahaven on Saturday.
After an early pitch inspection the game went ahead, but both sides had to put up with very difficult conditions.
The Ballymoney side took advantage of the wind and had a lot of the play in the first half, they went in at the break 1-0 up thanks to a goal from Ian Christie.
But the second half was a different story, with Taylor’s men determined to get the points from the tie. Ten minutes in and Luke Bradley equalised after a scramble in the goal mouth.
Soon after the Ports made it 2-1 when Chris Hanson took advantage of a defensive mistake from Glebe. Johnny Stewart sealed the win with a powerful lob from the edge of the box to give the home side all three points.
Ports boss Gary Taylor was delighted with the win: “I was very happy with our performance given the difficult conditions,” Taylor told Times Sport.
“We have been playing well and going forward we looked dangerous on Saturday. In the first half they had a lot of the play, Joel Madison wasn’t tested at all, but we gave away a stupid free kick and they went in at the break 1-0 up. We rallied the boys at half time and we took control of the second half.
“Johnny Stewart’s goal was superb, he’s a great finisher. We have been preaching to him about staying up and it paid off for the third goal.”
New signing Garret Quinn made his debut in the tie and Taylor was pleased with his display: “Garret is missing match fitness, his passing was superb on Saturday and he showed that he will fit in well. He’s a good player and we are very happy to have him on board.”
Glebe boss Jason Wilmont was frustrated by the score line: “I wasn’t happy at all.
“It’s the same old thing, we aren’t clinical in front of goal and it’s really hurting us at the moment. We have players who can be really clinical and that’s what is hard to take.
“The second half they were a different team.
“Portstewart did what we didn’t do, they bombarded our box with the wind. We were so in control of that game for 45 minutes and then we just let it slip out of our hands. Fair play to Portstewart they have taken six points off us this year,” he said.
The focus now turns to Saturday, when the Ports travel to PSNI.
“Other results on Saturday went in our favour, but we cannot rely on that to avoid relegation,” admitted Taylor. “We have got caught up in Cups and we have a number of games in hand in the League.
“PSNI is never an easy place to go, they had a good win over Limavady on Saturday, so confidence will be high. We outplayed them in the first fixture, and couldn’t get a goal, but we will give Saturday our best shot. I have no doubt that if we settle ourselves and pass like we did on Saturday that we will give them a game.”