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Town cruise into Irish Cup quarter-final

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

WARRENPOINT Town cruised into the last eight of the Tennant's Irish Cup with a workmanlike 5-0 victory over Crewe United.

Warrenpoint Town ...5
Crewe United ...0

On Saturday at Milltown the home side made a little bit of history as it's the first time the club have ever made it to the quarter-finals of the most famous competition in Northern Ireland. And they got there with an impressive footballing display.

It must be said though that the visitors were not in the same class as their Championship rivals - scarcely surprising as Crewe play two leagues below Warrenpoint.

Manager Matthew Tipton said: "We were expected to win the game and obviously that's what we've done. I told the boys to make sure we were in the quarter-final of the cup. Once we went three up we could have strolled through the game. But I wanted to try to keep the intensity high.

“It was brilliant for Crewe to come from Mid-Ulster and get to the sixth round of the cup. We respected them but they were in our way to get to the quarter-finals so we had to dispatch with them. We could have scored a few more but five nil was fine."

On why he changed the defence around Tipton said: "Stephen Moan is more than capable at centre half and Dermot is more than capable at left back. Last week at Ballyclare we started Stephen Moan at left back and I just thought that when Dermy went to left back we looked far better. We were more solid down the middle having Moaner there with his organisation skills and his covering and Dermy has a great left foot."

To the action: After the Crewe keeper Gerard McErlean saved from both Darren King and Conor McMenamin early on Warrenpoint edged in front on 19 minutes. Stephen Murray crossed from the right and from close range McMenamin knocked past McErlean at the second attempt.

And four minutes later the Point doubled their tally. Philly Donnelly clipped a beautiful ball over the top with Murray controlling it before poking into the net. It was the big striker's 22nd goal of the season.

On 35 minutes the match was over - to all intents and purposes. Following a Liam Bagnall left wing corner, the excellent Donnelly controlled the ball before crisply left-footing home from 15 yards.

Warrenpoint were doing all the pressing while Crewe were defending desperately. And just before the break Lurcan Forde set up Murray but McErlean saved. Yet it really should have been four on 57 minutes but McMenamin was out of luck when his scorching drive cannoned off the underside of the Crewe crossbar - and just after that Forde shot wide at the near post.

That fourth goal was coming however, and duly arrived on 69 minutes. It was a beauty too. Substitute Liam McKenna, who had only been on the park 14 minutes, lashed home a left-footed rocket from the edge of the box, after another substitute, Curtis Dempster had done the spadework.

The final nail in the Crewe coffin came on 77 minutes when Murray played in the alert Dempster who ran clear before slipping the ball under the Crewe keeper and into the back of the net. The job was done. Mission accomplished. The quarter-final had been reached and in the last 15 minutes as the Point switched off, Crewe managed to create a couple of scoring opportunities. On 75 minutes Stephen Moan did brilliantly to deflect a Conor McCarthy drive over the top while on 83 minutes the Town keeper Stephen Maguire arched superbly to flick a McCarthy freekick over the bar.

Now for that huge quarter-final tie against Dungannon at Stangmore Park on March 4.

And make no mistake, Warrenpoint have every chance of winning it.

Tipton said: "Two weeks ago we won our first Mid-Ulster trophy and now we are through to the Irish Cup quarter-final; but we won't rest on that. I'm not going to say we're going to win the Irish Cup. But we have competed against teams in the Premier League this season and we'll be trying our best to get to the semi-final. I'd love to get to the semi-final but there's a long way to go."

But present things first and the club have an important Championship game on Saturday. Tipton said: "We are looking forward to the Larne game. It's massive. Unbelievably big. It's the last game before the split and we need big performances. The boys are probably bored hearing me say it, but every game now is like a cup final. We've done all the work. This winning feeling is good. Let's carry on being unbeaten. We are unbeaten since September - in the league and in all competitions apart from my first game against Ballymena."

WARRENPOINT TOWN: Stephen Maguire, Darren King, Jordan Dane, Stephen Moan, Dermot McVeigh, Philly Donnelly, Liam Bagnall, Lorcan Forde, Josh Lynch, Conor McMenamin and Stephen Murray with subs: Liam McKenna for Bagnall (55) and Curtis Dempster for Donnelly (61).

CREWE UNITED: Gerard McErlean, Mark Dean, Conor McCarthy, Nathan Finlay, Ciaran Burns, Michael O'Neill, Stuart Armstrong, Fra McGuinness, Pearce Devine, Niall Finn and William McCracken with subs: Paul McKenna, Christopher McCleave and Jonathan Ottaway.

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