Warrenpoint hit Celts for six
Tuesday, 13 December 2016
WARRENPOINT Town crushed Lurgan Celtic 6-2 at Knockramer Park on Saturday.
The Seasiders gave an impressive display, won by four goals and with a bit of luck might have added another two or three.
Lurgan Celtic ...2
Warrenpoint Town ...6
It was a good day for the Town, especially with main Championship contenders Ballyclare and Institute both dropping points. The Comrades lost to Loughgall while Institute could only draw with basement side Annagh United. The league table makes pleasant reading for Town fans with Warrenpoint on top on 33 points, four points ahead of Institute and five in front of Ballyclare. And the Point have a match in hand.
Things are looking good for new boss Matthew Tipton who was delighted at how his team performed against Lurgan Celtic, telling the Democrat: "These boys (Celtic) won four out of five before today. They beat Larne 3-1 two weeks ago. They are a good team. But apart from maybe two minutes at the start of the second half, we dominated from minute one to minute 90. The possession football we played was what we asked the boys to play.
“Ok we didn't convert everything into goals in the first half. But there's a reason why you keep the ball. You don't do it to look nice. You do it to tire the opposition out and to move them around. That's why (in the second half) we kept running through and scoring goals - they were out on their feet.
“We don't just turn up on a Saturday and hope the boys play well. We work on it. We're fit, we're pacy and when we play like that nobody can live with us. I thought it was an exemplary team performance from start to finish.
“We asked the boys to play out from the back on a pitch, which without being disrespectful, was like a ploughed field, and they did it. That's why when their forwards got the ball they're too tired to do anything with it. They were chasing around after our centre-halves passing the ball," said Tipton.
Yet things didn't start out well for the visitors to Lurgan as the home side opened the scoring on six minutes. Jordan Gibson crossed from the right with tall central defender Stephen Hutchinson rising unchallenged to power a header past Jonny Parr and into the roof of the 'Point net.
Still the Town responded well. One minute after the goal, John McGuigan, who was to prove a constant thorn in the Hoops' side all afternoon, had a shot hacked clear. But on nine minutes Warrenpoint levelled. McGuigan launched in a high ball from way out on the right, Stephen Murray, at the back post, headed across goal and there was Conor McMenamin bustling through to sweep the ball into the net. For his trouble the striker got a kick in the head and had to receive treatment.
For the rest of the half Warrenpoint controlled things but couldn't add to their tally. On 24 minutes Murray crossed from the right with McGuigan's diving header just missing the post while seven minutes later McMenamin popped up at the near post onto an Aaron Traynor centre but shot wide.
The best opportunity of the half though fell to Stephen Murray on 35 minutes. Darren King carved out the opening with a great ball on the right but the big striker shot over the top when completely unmarked and just 15 yards out.
Three minutes into the second half Lurgan had a clear opening but Ciaran Ryan missed the target when one-on-one with Johnny Parr. That missed chance was to prove costly as Warrenpoint totally dominated after that.
On 53 minutes McGuigan crossed from the right, Ruairi Croskery shot with the ball hitting the post and rebounding into the path of the lurking Stephen Murray who had all the time in the world to roll it into the net from point-blank range.
Skipper Stephen Moan almost made it three on 59 minutes but keeper Conor McCorry dived full length to keep out the mid-fielder's low 20-yard drive.
However, it was only a matter of minutes before Warrenpoint grabbed that third. McMenamin robbed a Celtic defender on the right, cut in and shot. The ball cannoned off a post with the speedy McGuigan picking up the loose ball and gleefully hammering through a crowded goalmouth and into the back of the net.
The Town were on a roll and on 67 minutes they added another goal when Ciaran Ryan inadvertently headed into his own net, following a bullet-like McGuigan's left wing corner.
However, the good wine was still on come. On 72 minutes Tipton brought on the teenage duo of Josh Lynch and Liam McKenna and two minutes later Lynch scored with his first kick. And what a goal. Traynor cut the ball back from the left flank and without checking his stride or taking a touch, the youngster fired a glorious 25-yarder into the top corner. The goal of the game? Maybe the goal of the season!
Yet there wasn't a lot to choose between Lynch's goal and another four minutes later from Man of the Match John McGuigan. Murray beat his man down the right and curled in a great ball and there was McGuigan roaring through the centre of the Lurgan defence to thunder a header into the angle. Another absolute cracker.
The Town continued to press forward in search of more goals but they were out of luck. While in a rare Lurgan attack, on 82 minutes Steven Hutchinson headed in his second goal of the game.
After the game manager Tipton put his hands up and said the second Lurgan goal was his fault: "We gave away goals on two set pieces which we have worked hard on in training. But I take full responsibility for the second goal as I never told the sub coming on who his man was. It might have been a bit of arrogance on my part as we were leading 6-1 with 15 or 20 minutes to go."
Nonetheless it was a magnificent win for the Point but the boss knows the Championship is far from over. Next week the Town travel to Dergview and Tipton said of that match: "It's another tough game, although in saying that, every game is a tough game because we're playing against teams who aren't going to roll over and die.
We have to go out and set the standards. That means we have to retain possession of the ball until such a stage we can score goals. Today it took 55 minutes. And it wasn't just the goals we scored but the chances that we created that weren't taken.
“We have to work hard on Tuesday and Thursday to make sure the boys are properly prepared to go to Dergview. Without a shadow of a doubt it will be tough. Richie Clarke, who I played with in Portadown, is doing a brilliant job there and I know he's not going to let us walk in and take three points away from him."
Tipton is setting high standards. "I said to the boys after the Dundalk match (where Warrenpoint lost 4-0): Can we replicate what Dundalk did to us against other teams? They completely dominated the game by keeping possession of the ball. So if Dundalk are the benchmark in the island of Ireland, why not look towards them and try and do what they do?
On Saturday Warrenpoint did exactly that - against a strong Lurgan Celtic side.
LURGAN CELTIC: Conor McCorry, Declan McVeigh, Aaron Rogers, Steven Hutchinson, John Cochrane, Jordan Gibson, Josh Barton, Ciaran Ryan, Daniel Ryan, Rian Devlin and James Wright. Subs: Caolan Lavery, Conor McAnallen and Sean Devlin.
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Johnny Parr, Darren King, Dermot McVeigh, Jordan Dane, Aaron Traynor, John McGuigan, Stephen Moan, John Boyle, Ruairi Croskery, Conor McMenamin and Stephen Murray. Subs: Josh Lynch for Dane, Liam McKenna for Boyle and Aaron Devlin for Croskery.
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