Belfast Telegraph

Winner Matthew Tipton hopes to box clever yet again

By Graham Luney

Matthew Tipton has a 100 per cent record in Boxing Day derbies in the Irish League's top flight and he's determined to keep it.

The striker has won all his neighbourly disputes in the colours of Portadown and Linfield and he hopes that pattern continues in a Sky Blue jersey.

Ballymena United host Coleraine today with renewed optimism in the camp after a positive spell which has seen them progress to the final of the Wasp Solutions League Cup and win on the road at Institute.

The Braidmen have lost just once in the last six derby clashes, however, Coleraine haven't lost at Warden Street since October, 2009.

Tipton is hoping to give the home fans something to shout about today when hostilities resume.

"These matches really are special occasions for everyone involved and it's great to see that they are practically sold out, another reflection of how entertaining and competitive this league is," said the Welshman.

"I've been part of only winning squads on Boxing Day and I haven't always played in the matches so the first thing is you want to be involved then it's all about winning.

"There was never doom and gloom in the camp but when you aren't winning matches you don't feel great. I felt the win at Institute was a big result as a semi-final can take a lot out of you emotionally and that probably affected Cliftonville when they lost to Glentoran.

"Coleraine have a great manager and group of players but we want to deliver for our fans."

Tipton, a young trainee aged 34, is looking forward to linking up with elder statesman, 36-year-old Gary McCutcheon.

"Gary has that love for the game and hunger to be successful that many players can identify with," added Tipton.

"Maybe the Crusaders style of play didn't suit him and he wasn't playing that much but he reminds me of Kevin Braniff and he's got the talent to score goals and create chances."

Another good omen for the Sky Blues is that their striker Darren Boyce scored the winner for Glentoran against Linfield on Boxing Day in 2011.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph