Communication key to Portadown clean sheet for Greg Hall
Communication was key for versatle defender Greg Hall as Portadown picked up a fourth clean sheet of a first campaign back in top-flight football.
Ben Tilney and Lee Bonis grabbed the goals at Shamrock Park on Saturday but Hall served up special praise for the collective effort behind the 2-0 win.
“I think we’ve been playing quite well lately without the results so today was brilliant to get the clean sheet and win,” said Hall. “We’ve been getting better defensively too I think, even with chopping and changing.
“Today you could see the players putting bodies on the line, not just in defence, during a solid all-round team display.
“Although a right-back, I made my debut at left-back for Portadown and have enjoyed the past two games there, probably more so at full-back than when asked to go in at centre-back.
“Communication is massive.
“It comes from Jacob Carney as goalkeeper then with two solid specialist centre-backs in Adam McCallum and Paul Finnegan they can help talk you through a game off that foundation.
“That experience helps us keep that shape, which can then transfer on into midfield.
“Carrick were getting a lot of corner-kicks but without really hurting us, we were set up well.
“Carrick keep coming at you and we knew it was going to be a battle so Lee’s goal was massive in the last few minutes to take off some of that pressure.
“You just deal with it in blocks, maybe five minutes at a time, then also try to be a bit more streetwise to take the sting out of the game.”
Hall is hoping for a final push over the rest of the current season to help towards future gains.
“It’s massive that we finish the campaign well to then kick on into next season with greater confidence,” he said. “It’s still a young squad so the more wins we can get now the more confidence for the future.
“Now I’m back in the Premiership after a few years out and the top flight is such a really good league.
“Technically and physically the players and teams are so good and you can see the improvements in patterns of play from the full-time sides.
“It’s such a tough league but I think you can see us making progress.
“Even back in the Championship and now across the Premiership, Carrick have been able to beat us and it maybe does start playing on your mind a wee bit.
“But today everyone was on it, we started well and built on it.
“I missed about eight months with injury last season so lockdown gave me some time to get fit again and, thankfully, this campaign my injury has felt grand even with the schedule.
“It can be tough on the body with work, training and games...it’s non-stop but I’m not complaining.”
PORTADOWN: Carney, Hall, McCallum, Finnegan, McKeown (Warde, 73), Tipton, Salley, Bonis, Conaty (Teggart, 80), Kerr, Tilney (Scannell, 89).
Subs: Buchanan, Murry, Croskery, Guy.
CARRICK RANGERS: Hogg, Neale (Smith, 62), Rodgers, Loughran, Chapman, Gordon, Cherry (Storey, 78), Glendinning, Gibson, Anderson (Jenkins, 62), Friel.
Subs: Forsythe, Kalla, McMullan, Ramsey.
Referee: Christopher Morrison.
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