Prodigious 'Point punish Portstewart
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Warrenpoint Town FC 4 Portstewart FC 0.
WARRENPOINT returned from a four week hiatus with a four goal performance against Portstewart to book a place in the fourth round of the Intermediate Cup.
The 'Point dominated proceedings throughout but only put the tie beyond doubt on the hour mark when Paddy Mooney headed in the home team's second of the afternoon. After that, it was plain sailing for the south Down side.
The reality was that Portstewart never seriously threatened the Warrenpoint goal but until the home side were able to get the assurance of a second goal, there was always an outside chance of an unlikely comeback.
The game began tentatively with Warrenpoint dominating possession but on nine minutes the breakthrough was made and the county Down team took the lead.
Keith Johnston took a quick throw-in which Stephen Hughes headed directly back to him. Johnston then cut in from the right wing and crossed for Hughes who had no problem finishing from close range.
The feeling that Warrenpoint would go on to rack up a cricket score was palatable but for the remainder of the first half Portstewart's goal would not be breached again.
Warrenpoint maintained a high level of possession and pressure with Shaun Parr and Paddy Mooney dominating in midfield but the home side could not convert the dominance into something more telling on the score-board.
The 'Point won nine corners in the opening half but none produced clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities and the closest they came to a second goal was on the stroke of half-time when good work by Kenny Kerns and Parr presented Martin Havern with a chance which he unluckily struck off the crossbar.
Warrenpoint may not have been as decisive in front of goal as usual but Portstewart were offensively impotent, having been restricted to two long-range efforts in the first half, both of which were off target.
The 'Point began in the second half as they had ended the first, in complete control without being able to hit the back of the net. Hughes was guilty of dragging a score-able chance wide of the target on 48 minutes.
Just as it began to feel like one of those days for Warrenpoint they scored a second, decisive goal from a corner kick. It was their 11th of the afternoon and after taking it short, Johnston delivered a fine cross which Paddy Mooney met well with a fine header. It was placed into the top right-hand corner of the net and it signalled the end of the game as a competitive contest.
Portstewart capitulated completely and Warrenpoint began to pass the ball with a swagger. The Blues nabbed their third goal on 66 minutes and it was a gift. Hughes was presented with the ball deep in opposition territory and as he calmly rounded the keeper he had enough time to roll the ball into the net.
Warrenpoint introduced three subs in the final 20 minutes and Sean McMullan, Paudie Smith and Gary Boyle all contributed to their side's good play for the remainder of the game. Smith in particular sprayed the ball around midfield with panache as the Warrenpoint domination continued unabated. In injury time, the home side were rewarded with a fourth goal. Gary Boyle's shot was parried by Joel Maddison in the Portstewart goal directly into the path of Havern who had tapped home the rebound with ease.
The final whistle blew seconds later, much to the relief of the visiting side. It was a mis-match of talent with Warrenpoint emphatically proving their class. The challenge now is to topple Premier League opposition in the form of Ballymena United in the Irish Cup next week. After an easy victory over Portstewart, the 'Point head into that game with a winning mentality.
WARRENPOINT: Jonathan Parr, Niall Crilly, Ruairi Devlin, John Boyle (c), Jonathan Cowan, Patrick Mooney, Martin Havern, Shaun Parr, Kenny Kerns, Keith Johnston and Stephen Hughes. Subs: Gary Boyle for Ruairi Devlin (70 mins), Paudie Smith for Stephen Hughes (70) and Sean McMullan for Keith Johnston
PORTSTEWART: Joel Maddison, Stephen Watson, Adam Campbell, Andrew White, Ian Todd, James Peden (c), Owen Peden, Dean Murray, Richard Dunlop, Paul Quinn and Danny Austin. Subs: Sam Boylan for Paul Quinn (64 mins), Jonathan Gowne for Adam Campbell (76) and Che Bradley for Dean Murray (76).
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