David Jeffrey's instincts serve Ballymena well
Ballymena Utd 3 - Warrenpoint 1
David Jeffrey made light of the managerial masterstroke that earned him his first win as Ballymena United boss on Saturday but, whether by luck or by judgement, it made all the difference.
Struggling to break down a gutsy Warrenpoint Town side who played the whole of the second period after Stephen Moan's third dismissal of the season against the Sky Blues, a share of the spoils looked to be the best Jeffrey's men could muster.
Town deservedly led through Johnny McMurray's 20th minute finish and, but for Alan Blayney, could have been out of sight before Moan's decision to punch away Johnny Taylor's goalbound effort earned United a penalty that Allan Jenkins converted at the second attempt.
Visiting keeper Jonathan Parr and his colleagues did all they could to keep United at bay and Jeffrey threw on Jonny Frazer and Willie Faulkner in an attempt to secure the win they so badly needed.
It worked. Within three minutes of coming on, Faulkner was in the right place after Frazer's effort was only palmed out by Parr and, deep in injury-time, the pair combined again, with the former Ards man converting Frazer's low cross.
It was tough luck on Town but at the end Jeffrey was being lauded as a hero with his first home game getting the fairytale ending he would have dreamt of.
"Alan Blayney made three or four great saves and kept us in the game and that was most significant and very pleasing. After that it was inspired substitutions and tactical genius!" he joked.
"People will be saying 'wasn't that a great substitution' but the reality is you go with your stomach and your instincts."
As for opposite number Barry Gray it was time for a moan. At Moan.
"We were unfortunate not to be further ahead but we didn't take the chances we had," he said
"It's a poor decision from him, make no mistakes about it. There's no justification for that, because at the end of the day if you do that on the line, I don't see the benefit of it," the Warrenpoint boss added.
BALLYMENA: Blayney, Ervin, McBride, McVey, Taylor, T Kane, Thompson, Taggart (E Kane, 79 mins), Henderson (Faulkner, 86 mins), Jenkins, Hanley (Frazer, 68 mins). Unused subs: Nelson, McNally.
WARRENPOINT: Parr, Moan, M Hughes (Murphy, 74 mins), Clarke, McVeigh, Dane, M Murray, Bagnall, S Murray, McMurray (Boyle, 64 mins), McDonald. Unused subs: S Hughes, McCabe, Graham.
Man of match: Mark Clarke
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)