Warrenpoint forced to wait
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
WARRENPOINT Town were one minute away and remain one point away from Premiership promotion.
An 89th minute strike spoiled Warrenpoint Town's promotion party. It was a stinging 40-yard strike from Ballyclare substitute Thomas Robinson and a worthy winner from what was a strange performance from the Seasiders.
Town boss Matthew Tipton was disappointed to lose the unbeaten streak in the league but wasn't too downhearted on Saturday's defeat and is confident they can get a result and win promotion against second placed Institute on Saturday (April 1) at Milltown.
Warrenpoint still only need one point from their remaining five games to secure promotion so the Town boss isn't getting too worried.
“It is not the end of the world.
“I'll be honest, if it takes us until the last game of the season to pick up one point then so be it," said Tipton.
“But it won't take us that long, there is a reason why we went 19 games unbeaten before today and that is not going to change because we got beaten by Ballyclare.
“Maybe it might help us going into Saturday because the boys will realise that they are not invincible and they will have to really focus and get a result next week."
Played in Ballyclare on Saturday, there was little of note in the opening half, as Warrenpoint looked a team out of sorts. The pitch was quite rough and didn't particularly help the style of football but even so, the Seasiders failed to play to their usual standards.
Set-pieces didn't make much of an impact and the passing was error strewn, which isn't typical of this Warrenpoint side.
“I was disappointed because I felt we played the game as if we lost, we would get relegated," said the Point boss.
“The boys played with no fluidity and no freedom today. I understand what is at stake and nerves does things to people. I felt that one goal was going to do it; they never really pressured us before that.
“It was sloppy from us to concede the goal and it is disappointing we have to wait another week to put this right. And we have to go again on Saturday to try and get the point that we need.
“It's not great but that's football, you win some and you lose some... we have five games so it was not like it was all over if we didn't win today."
Ballyclare dictated the tempo, much like they did in the match in late January and they could have taken the lead but Jordan Dane got his body in the way to block Kevin Lynch's effort from the edge of the box.
On 50 minutes Ballyclare's Kevin Lynch should have broken the deadlock but his free header from McMullan's free-kick went narrowly wide. Warrenpoint breathed a sigh of relief but it was the wake up call they needed.
McMenamin came close to putting Warrenpoint in front after Darren Murray crossed beautifully but the ball bobbled before the Point playmaker struck and it rattled off the corner of the adjoining posts.
The tables turned again as on 77 minutes John Dobbin unleashed a wonderful 30-metre strike and it looked destined for the top corner but for an equally wonderful save from Jonny Parr who pushed the ball over the bar.
Then came Robinson's, late, late wonder strike, which couldn't have landed any tighter into the bottom corner of the net. He should have been closed down but it was a quality strike.
And while disappointed, the Warrenpoint lads can be proud of what they have achieved so far and their manager said as much.
"Massively disappointed not just for me but it would have been nice to go unbeaten for the rest of the season," said Tipton.
“I am disappointed mainly but I think it is something for the boys to be proud of - the fact they had gone 19 games unbeaten in a very tough league. Nobody has done that before, so of course I was disappointed with that.
“That wasn't my overriding emotion when I came off the field. I was just disappointed that we hadn't won the league today and it means we have to wait again and I don't like waiting for things. I'm impatient.
“It is what it is, now the unbeaten run is done and maybe we can start another one and see if we can go five games unbeaten between now and the end of the season."
Institute beat Dergview 5-1 at the weekend and will be tricky opponents in Milltown, especially with captain Liam Bagnall suspended.
But while the Warrenpoint boss acknowledges that his players may be thinking ahead to next season he expects his team to deliver a performance they are capable of and not play the occasion on Saturday.
“Next week we will go into the game and we know what we need to do as in performance wise," said Tipton.
“Today maybe was built up too much during the week and it is a strange thing nerves and occasions and maybe we will go low key. We were 18 points clear so why wouldn't they be thinking about the Premiership?
“If you look at the table with 18 points clear and six games left of course you are going to be thinking about this and that and the other but as I said this result might refocus our minds and see if we can continue with the five games we have left.
“That starts on Saturday against Institute who gave us three tough games this season."
Warrenpoint Town could win the Championship title for the first time on Saturday and the Point boss hopes the local support will come out in force.
“We want them out every week whether we win the league or not we would be delighted to see more fans through the gates," said Tipton.
Warrenpoint Town face Institute at Milltown on Saturday (April 1) at 3pm.
BALLYCLARE COMRADES: Paddy Flood, Curtis Woods, Aaron Gray, Jason Johnston, Garry Brown, Dane Youle, John Dobbin, Michael O'Hanlon, Corey McMullan, Denver Taggart (Thomas Robinson 66'), Kevin Lynch.
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Jonny Parr, Darren King, Dermot McVeigh, John McGuigan (Liam McKenna 86'), Conor McMenamin, Stephen Murray, Josh Lynch (Curtis Dempster), Jordan Dane, Liam Bagnall, Stephen Moan, Ruari Croskery (Aaron Traynor 63').
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