Darren Murphy has said he is prepared to sacrifice entertaining football to produce the results that will keep Dungannon Swifts in the Premiership. writes Adrian Rutherford.
This season has brought a greater emphasis on passing play and, while performances have been good, their points tally is far below expectations.
The latest setback came at the weekend when an 86th minute goal from ex-Swifts player Niall Henderson saw Glentoran claim a dramatic victory.
Murphy believes they need to become harder to beat, even if it comes at the expense of their reputation for eye-catching football.
“I feel at times the whole 11 don’t do their jobs defensively,” he said.
“Maybe it’s a matter now of the so-called talented players being left out of the team, and putting boys in who will kick the ball out of the ground.”
Asked if he would be prepared to compromise on entertainment value for the sake of results, Murphy replied: “I’m going to have to.
“I don’t like having to do it but I’m being pragmatic.
“I’m maybe going to have to sacrifice what we have and put players in the team who maybe lack that so-called quality element.”
Glentoran had an early chance when Marcus Kane’s close-range snapshot was parried wide.
Otherwise it was a dismal opening 35 minutes, brought to life only by a Dungannon goal.
An attempted clearance went straight to Jamie Tomelty. He drove forward and teed up David McCullough, who slotted home.
Disappointingly, Swifts held their lead for just six minutes.
Poor defending allowed Kane to break down the left and set up Curtis Allen, whose close-range, left-foot shot gave the goalkeeper no chance.
And the visitors completed a dramatic turnaround a minute later.
Some good footwork saw Jordan Stewart create a yard of space and, spotting a gap, he curled home a sublime effort from 20 yards.
Andy Coleman made a good save at the outset of the second half to deny Allen before Dungannon hit back in sensational style.
A throw-in reached Andrew Mitchell outside the box, and he hit a stunning, looping effort over the goalkeeper to level it up again.
Dungannon summoned Gary Liggett from the bench as they chased a winner, but Glentoran finished strongly.
Stewart twice hit the crossbar with audacious efforts, before the visitors were handed the chance to win it four minutes from the end.
Cameron Grieve fouled Stephen Gordon in the box, but his spot-kick came back off the crossbar.
However, Henderson was first to the rebound and headed home to snatch the points.
Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson said: “We shot ourselves in the foot with the first goal but worked very hard to get back in the game.
“Their second was a quality goal – I can’t fault anyone – but we didn’t perform at the start of the second half.
“We made a couple of changes and I thought we finished the game strongly.”
Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Burns, Brennan (Armstrong, 74), Wilson, Grieve, Hazley (Fitzpatrick, 59), Harpur, McCullough, Glackin, Tomelty (Liggett, 65), Mitchell Subs not used: S Lavery, Douglas
Glentoran: Morris, Holland, McCullough, Addis, Garrett, Nelson (Henderson, 64), Gordon, Kane, Stewart, Scullion (McKee, 80), Allen Subs not used: McCaffrey, Boyd, Hogg
Raymond Crangle, Belfast