Taylor praises the efforts of his players after heafty defeat by leaders

Portstewart's Ryan Doherty is fouled during Saturday's tie with PSNI. INCR15-175MJ
Portstewart's Ryan Doherty is fouled during Saturday's tie with PSNI. INCR15-175MJ

Championship Two leaders PSNI were the visitors to Mullaghacall on Saturday, and they showed why they’re the dominant force in the League, when they hit five past Portstewart.

Dean Murray, Owen Moody, Markus Condren and Luke Bradley were all missing for the home side, in a tie that required Gary Taylor’s side to field their strongest team.

The opening 15 minutes was a quiet affair with both sides taking time to settle into the tie. PSNI took the lead in the 16th minute when Colm Kirgan’s header powered into the back of the net.

The visitors were awarded a soft penalty ten minutes before the end of the half and Lukasz Adamczyk converted to leave the score 2-0 at the break.

The second half was only six minutes old when a long goal kick out by Wilson found the laces of Peter Steele’s boots. He coolly lobbed Joel Madison in the Portstewart goal to give PSNI a third goal.

At the other end, efforts from Gary Quinn, Ryan Doherty and Nigel Turner came to nothing. Portstewart continued to battle despite the score line. The hard working midfield of Lee Forgrave, Adam Campbell, Danny Austin and Ryan Doherty battled for every ball hoping to give forwards Turner and Quinn a chance to pull a goal back.

PSNI made it 4-0 from a very tight angle thanks to Dobbin, and the same player grabbed the fifth ten minutes from time to seal the win for the league leaders.

Ports boss Gary Taylor described the game as ‘hard going’, but praised his side for their efforts.

“We were without a number of key players, and we had boys playing out of position.

“It wasn’t perfect when you’re up against the best team in the league, but despite the score we kept trying and pushing forward.

“We have been playing really well in the past few weeks, but when we came under pressure the boys seemed to loose their confidence a bit and our passing got sloppy.

“PSNI are a good team, it’s easy to see why they are in the position they are in, they have some experienced players in their ranks.”

Portstewart have no game this Saturday, their next tie is Easter Saturday, April 19, when they travel to Ballymoney United: “They’re going through a good wee spell at the minute. After that we have another derby tie against Tobermore on Easter Tuesday.

“We hope by that stage that we’ll have a full squad to pick from,” said the Portstewart boss.