Gary Taylor praises his young side as Portstewart bow out of cup

Portstewart's Ryan Doherty and Portadown's Jake Richardson
Portstewart's Ryan Doherty and Portadown's Jake Richardson

Portstewart may not have created the Irish Cup shock they were so desperately hoping for, but they made Portadown work all the way for their win.

Gary Taylor’s young charges put it up to their more illustrious opponents and were unlucky to go down 2-0 in front of one of the biggest crowds Seahaven has ever housed.

The chat from most of the fans leaving the seaside venue on Saturday was complimentary towards the Championship Two outfit and how they went about their business on the day.

Whilst frustrating Ronnie McFall’s men for large parts of the game they also tried to get the ball down and play football the right way.

In the end they were undone by two late goals by poachers Gary Twigg and Darren Murray.

“I was very proud with the way we played,” Taylor said.

“We had a great first half and we caused them a few problems when we got it down and played a bit.

“The second half was a bit tougher, they stepped it up a bit and you could see the quality they have.

“I thought we were a bit unfortunate with the second goal, a 1-0 defeat would maybe have looked better.

“We had been confident all week and believed we could have a real go at it. Half time probably came at the wrong time for us, we were full of adrenalin and driving on.

“We came into it well again late on in the second half, unfortunately that’s when they go the breakthrough.

“We knew they would step it up in the second half and unfortunately we just couldn’t handle it in the end up.”

Portadown boss McFall was under no illusions as to just how tough it was going to be, and he was proved right.

His side will now meet Linfield in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup on February 28.

“We knew it was always going to be difficult coming up here,” he said.

“Playing a Championship Two side we were always going to be on a hiding to nothing.

“A lot of credit must go to Portstewart, they really put it up to us and I thought they did really well.

“There was absolutely nothing in the first half, they went the normal 4-4-2 and put it up to us. I’ve been involved in a lot of games like this so we knew it was never going to be easy.

“Portstewart tried to get it down and play good football and they caused us a few problems, but I don’t think the pitch helped either side.

“The important thing was we had to make sure and keep it tight in the first half.

“The quality we have we always know we can get goals, the important thing was we didn’t let any in at the other end. So it was pleasing to keep a clean sheet and I think we ran out worthy winners in the end.

“We had a chat at half time and we said to the boys we needed to get the ball up to the front men earlier and get up and support them. It worked a lot more for us a we forced them a lot deeper after the break.

“They ran out of legs a wee bit in the second half as they had put so much effort into the game, that allowed us to take control of things and we started to create a few chances.

“Cup football is all about the result and making sure you get into the next round and we got that today.”