Belfast Telegraph

Friars key to recovery after Sky Blues hit by early sucker punch

Warrenpoint Town 1 Ballymena United 3

By Gareth McCullough

Ballymena United defender Emmet Friars is turning into something of a goal threat for his new side after the Derry man scored his second in as many games in the away win over Warrenpoint Town.

Friars headed home on the hour, either side of a Cathair Friel brace to give David Jeffrey's Sky Blues back to back Premiership victories, despite having gone behind to a Martin Murray strike just 25 seconds in.

"We were hit by a bit of sucker punch but we didn't panic," said Friars.

"There are a lot senior players on the team who have played a lot of games and no one was worried.

"We just needed to settle down and get chances and we got back into the game very quickly with a great header from Bushy [Cathair Friel]. We knew we could kick on from there if we did the basic right and we did that."

The much-travelled Friars, who has been with Newry City, Derry City, Dungannon, Portadown, Crusaders, Ballinamallard and Ards, said he didn't have to give it a second thought when Jeffrey and his assistant Brian McLaughlin approached him to move to Warden Street.

"As soon as David and Brian phoned me about coming, there was never any doubt. There's no doubt that they're the best in the business and they have been for a long time," said the 31-year-old.

Warrenpoint: Parr, Foster, McCreery (McKenna, 63 mins), Moan (Reilly, 37 mins), Lyttle, Mackle, M Murray, McMenamin, S Murray, TJ Murray (Forde, 63 mins), McCafferty. Unused subs: Blayney, Roohi.

Ballymena: Brennan, Kane, Friars, Owens, Gault, Thompson, Friel (McIlhatton, 89 mins), Branniff, Ervin, McCullough, McCloskey (Faulkner, 82 mins). Unused subs: Glendinning, Balmer, McCaffrey.

Ref: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)

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