Warrenpoint give ‘worst performance of the season’
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
"It was the worst performance of the season by a million miles. It was an absolute dire performance," raged Barry Gray after seeing his Warrenpoint Town side drop a point at home to Armagh City, who are in the bottom half of the Championship One table.
Despite the fact that Warrenpoint played poorly, they still managed a point from a bad night and that point keeps them three points in front of the second-placed Ballyclare Comrades who lost 3-1 at home to Knockbreda, a team even further down the Championship table than Armagh City - and indeed a team that had only one win to their name before Saturday's result.
The Town boss was pulling no punches at he hit out at his mis-firing Championship leaders, continuing in the same vein: "We went through them for a shortcut at halftime but I might as well have talked to the wall as in the second half they were ten times worse. They delivered in the second half the complete opposite of what we asked of them.
“In possession we were dire, out of possession we were worse and this is no reflection on Armagh. The full responsibility of that performance lies with us. They didn't drag us down to their level. We dragged ourselves down.
“It's just not acceptable. We were absolutely rubbish. We're sitting on top of the league and not performing.
“When you score one goal that should be enough to win a game but there's this mindset that only defenders have to defend. You defend as a unit and that unit is the 10 outfield players.
“In the second half there were elements in their play that we should have been doing.
On Saturday past they (Warrenpoint) played my game and picked up the points. Tonight we had eleven individuals doing what they liked and it was a complete shambles. We have coached them and re-coached them but they're still churning out the same rubbish," lamented Gray.
Friday was a dismal evening at Milltown and yet things began promisingly. Initially the home side looked confident and were passing the ball well. And they deservingly raced in front on 12 minutes. Liam McKenna played in top scorer Stephen Murray down the right. The big man, on 12 league goals this season, shot with the ball taking a deflection off a City defender before beating the visiting keeper Josh Connolly, who formerly played Irish league football with Newry and in fact still lives in the city.
Five minutes later Warrenpoint had the ball in the opposition net again after a McGuigan drive was helped home by an Armagh defender. But referee Lee Tavander ruled that one out for an infringement.
On 29 minutes the home side had another opportunity of going two up. Conor McMenamin centred from the right with Murray popping up at the back stick. But an Armagh defender got in the way.
That though was as good as it would get for the Point with Armagh creating several scoring opportunities before the break. Shea McGerrigan mis-kicked with the Warrenpoint goal gaping, Shea Campbell raced through but shot high and wide while Liam McKenna headed a McGerrigan free-kick out for a corner.
The visitors were looking increasingly dangerous and almost on the interval whistle, they levelled. Campbell crossed from the left with McGerrigan side-stepping two Town defenders before drilling low into the home net.
It was a bad time to concede but the fans at Milltown were confident that Warrenpoint would improve in the second half and would grab a goal or two. But it wasn't to be. Instead the Town began to look increasingly out of sorts and in place of their original crisp passing game, they resorted to lumping high balls up the park and indeed the Town created few scoring opportunities in that second half.
Stephen Maguire was the busier of the two keepers and he saved well from Paul Carvill and Campbell while Stephen Moan got a toe to turn away a net-bound left wing drive from City's best player McGerrigan.
And as well as creating little, Warrenpoint were a shade fortunate to have skipper Liam Bagnall and the teenage Liam McKenna on the park at the final whistle as referee Tavendar took a lenient view of tackles by the Point duo. And Barry Gray agreed with this saying: "Certainly one of them should have gone."
Yet in the dying seconds Warrenpoint could have picked up all three points. Following a left-wing Tiernan Mulvenna corner, Aaron Traynor was mere millimetres off target with a flashing header.
On the immediate future of the Town, Gray hammered out a warning, saying: "There are some of them who'll be lucky if they're here next week. I've said it before, we're not here to win the Championship, we're here to build a Premiership team.
“We are at the stage where we're moving into the January window and if that's the cards they want to play, there will be very few of them here in January.
“Some of our biggest names are some of our biggest under-performers. And yet they stand with their hands out at the end of every month for wages they don't deserve.
“Big players should get on the ball, control it and dictate to other players around them. Five of that eleven are experienced Premiership players. What have they learned in the three years? Nothing."
The Town boss finished by spelling out his intentions "There will be changes next week (in a vital match away to Dergview). In fact every player that sat on the bench tonight will start."
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Stephen Maguire, Jodie McGovern, Stephen Moan, Jordan Dane, Aaron Traynor, Liam McKenna, Liam Bagnall, Josh Lynch, John McGuigan, Conor McMenamin, Stephen Murray. Subs: Tiernan Mulvenna for Lynch (71). Darren King, Johnny Parr, Dermot McVeigh and Nathan Murphy not used.
ARMAGH CITY: Josh Connolly, Dale Montgomery, Paul Carvill, Ultan Lennon, Eoin Toal, Jordan Bell, Andrew Hoey, Sean Mallon, Shea Campbell, Philip Donnelly, Shea McGerrigan. Subs: Johnny McSorley.
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