Warrenpoint lose opener
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Ballymena United 2. Warrenpoint Town 0.
WARRENPOINT Town suffered a 2-0 defeat to Ballymena in Saturday's Dankse Bank League season opener.
It was a game where the Seasiders had chances to score but Ballymena were worthy victors at the sun-splashed Showgrounds on Saturday, writes Shaun O'Neill.
A goal in each half by David Cushley and Neal Gawley did the damage.
Warrenpoint looked in trouble early on as United had enough first half chances to have won at a canter.
Early on Ballymena's David Cushley turned Dermot McVeigh and got in a shot which Town 'keeper Jonathan Par brilliantly saved.
Ballymena's centre-half Kyle watched the ball bounce off his shin and over the bar as the Warrenpoint defence was living on its nerves.
But they couldn't hold Ballymena at bay for long as Cushley, United's top goal scorer from last season, opened the scoring in the 16th minute, rifling in an angled drive low and hard from 20-yards.
Ballymena had the chance to make it 2-0 when new striker Matt Tipton, taking a pass from Alan Teggart, turned his marker and then shot wide.
United should have been coasting at the interval but Warrenpoint broke quickly and almost wiped out Ballymena's lead.
Daniel Hughes' dogged persistence got the better of United's centre-half Johnny Taylor and he got in a shot on target, but 'keeper Dwayne Nelson saved.
At the other end it took a timely tackle by Ciaran Gargan to deny Alan Davidson doubling United's lead.
Ballymena began the second half with Tipton racing through and shooting wide.
His team-mate Gawley showed him how it should be done five minutes later, blasting home a beauty, giving Parr in goal no chance, after a left wing cross by McBride.
But Warrenpoint Town thought they pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute when Stephen McCabe looked to have thrown Town a lifeline but 'keeper Nelson pulled a wonder save to stop the ball crossing the line.
Minutes later Daniel Hughes could have scored from close range but was denied by a last-ditch block from a Ballymena defender.
And Ballymena keeper Nelson brought off yet another special save, this time tipping Hughes's goal-bound shot over.
With 20 minutes remaining Town boss Barry Gray thought it was time for a change and brought on all three subs, Johnny Cowan, Kieran Smith and Ruairi Devlin in the hope of changing their fortunes.
But United did not give an inch and Warrenpoint failed to find the net, despite a late rally.
A disappointed Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray said that both goals were sucker-punches from which they did not recover.
He was pleased with the second half performance but bemoaned not taking scoring opportunities.
“We created three good opportunities but did not take them," said Gray.
He admitted that Ballymena United were sharper than them and said he expects a difficult match against Glenavon on Wednesday night, for Warrenpoint's first home game of the season, at Milltown, with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Ballymena United: Nelson, McCullagh, McVey, Taylor, McBride, Gawley (Taggart, 72), Davidson (Boyce, 72), Jenkins, Teggart (Surgenor, 80), Tipton and Cusley. Subs not used: Munster and Ruddy.
Warrenpoint Town: Parr, King, McDonnell (Cowan, 72), McVeigh (Smith, 72), Gargan, Hughes, McCabe, Bagnall, Moan, Boyle and Havern (Devlin, 72). Subs not used: Mooney and Grant.
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