Enniskillen 1st XV 0 Portadown 1st XV 24

Enniskillen dropped further into the battle at the foot of the Championship Division One table following Saturday’s 0-24 defeat to Portadown at Mullaghmeen.
Skins had started the day sitting third from bottom, five ahead of Portadown but by the end of Saturday the two sides were level on points to ensure that the end to the season is going to be a real battle.
Coach Willie Gibson felt his side had their chances on the day but that they panicked following a shaky start to the game.
“We let them in for two early scores and we panicked after that. We could have had three tries in the first half but we dropped the ball and for the whole of the second half we had all the ball but we couldn’t get across the line,” he stated.
Next for Skins is a meeting with Carrickfergus on Saturday at Mullaghmeen and Gibson is looking for an improved display.
“We just have top put the Portadown game behind us and put it right. We’ll be looking for a better performance this week against Carrick,” he said.
As a result of weather conditions it had been three weeks since Enniskillen’s last competitive fixture so this home tie against Portadown had been eagerly anticipated. Skins had enjoyed a bonus point victory in the corresponding match at Chambers Park back in September so many felt Enniskillen entered the game as favourites.
However, the Portadown team sheet reflected the emphasis they had put on getting a result with the recall of several old hands to their starting line-up.
Skins kicked off to the visitors and from the start Portadown indicated their intent. 
Having dominated the opening exchanges the visitors drew first blood as early as the second minute when, after a series of well controlled phases, flashed the ball to the winger who had completely out flanked the Enniskillen cover to touch down unopposed in the corner.
Coming so early in the game this did not create a cause to panic among the home side. At this stage Enniskillen were securing primary possession with ease. They controlled the lineout with Parke, Donnelly and Holden to the fore. 
However their total dominance in the scrums was quickly negated by several poor refereeing decisions that allowed the visitors to illegally wheel the Skins constant drive with impunity.
The Portadown defence were resolute throughout. Any possession Enniskillen secured during the first period was needlessly squandered with a series of handling errors and constant offside play by the visiting cover that was allowed to go unchallenged by the referee.
This resulted in cheap turnovers and, from such mistakes, Portadown managed to set up attacks. They eventually managed to cross the home line twice during the remainder of the half, extending their advantage to 19 points at the break.
Undeterred and still reasonably hopeful, Skins reorganised at the interval and started the second half with a new sense of urgency. 
They began to dominate territory, pinning Portadown back in their own 22’ for extended periods of the third quarter. However as hard as they tried they were constantly thwarted by a defensive line that seemed constantly offside, much to the irritation of the home crowd. Skins were penalised on several occasions close to the line, for reasons best known to the referee, and much to the relief of the Portadown defence.
Skins eventually managed to out manoeuvre the Portadown defence with a carefully drilled kick in behind their defensive line that was quickly followed up by Skins winger James Ferguson who outpaced his opposite number to touch down for what appeared to be Enniskillen’s opening score of the afternoon. However the delight of the home support proved to be short lived when the try was disallowed, followed with a further blow as the protesting Enniskillen were shown a yellow card. 
The remainder of the game was played out in the middle third of the field with neither side completely dominating proceedings. It looked as if neither side was going to score during the second period. However in injury time Portadown were awarded a penalty. They kicked to the corner and from the lineout there followed a period of sustained pressure by the visitors, who were eager to secure a fourth try and a bonus point win.
Skins managed to hold them out, but Portadown continued to exert pressure on the Enniskillen line which they eventually managed to breach.
Portadown thoroughly deserved their win on the day with their dogged determination in defence throughout ensuring the home side were never really allowed to control the game for any meaningful period of time.
They have a chance to get back to winning ways this week though with a home game against a Carrickfergus side sitting fifth in the table.
And all points are now crucial if Skins are to climb the table.