Jenkins bags first hat-trick as Sky Blues make heavy work of Town
Ballymena United 4 - Warrenpoint 2
Even at the ripe old age of 35 there was no disguising the delight on Allan Jenkins face as he bagged his first ever hat-trick in senior football on Saturday.
The Stranraer man collected three goals in 21 minutes after the sending off of Warrenpoint Town defender Stephen Moan turned a game that looked to be drifting away from Ballymena United.
Jenkins steadied the ship by converting the penalty awarded for Moan's alleged handball and then converted twice after the break to appear to put United in cruise control only to hit choppy waters when Stephen Murray scored twice for the visitors.
Kyle McVey finally sunk the basement battlers' brave comeback and finally ended a nervy second period for Jenkins who exited the game shortly after he bagged the match ball.
"It's my first hat-trick, I think I'd have to go back to primary school for my last one so on a personal level I'm delighted but again we made it very difficult for ourselves," said the former Morton man.
"It wouldn't be Ballymena if we did it any other way. All joking aside that took the shine off it because Spike (Glenn Ferguson) drummed it into us to go and start the second-half right and put the game to bed and we thought we had done that.
"They were poor goals, two long balls over the top and we were exposed and they took their chances but thankfully we've managed to sneak one in from a corner and managed to get the three points which is the most important thing.
"We knew Warrenpoint were on a poor run and we didn't want to be the team where that changed so we're happy in one way but Spike has already told us if we play Linfield next week and defend the way we've defended the result won't be as kind to us."
For Town, as spirited as their comeback was, they are well and truly stranded at the bottom of the table, although they weren't helped by referee Andrew Davey's decision to send off Moan.
"It really shouldn't happen because the consistency of refereeing should be better and that's no disrespect to Andrew but it should be better across the board which I don't think it is," said Town boss Barry Gray.
"I can't fault the players at all, they had to deal with quite a bit out of their control and to bring it back to the referee's decision it's not only a poor decision, we have a cup semi-final on Tuesday night and we have one of our main defenders suspended."
BALLYMENA: Blayney, Ervin, McBride, McNally (McVey, 65 mins), Taylor, T Kane, Thompson, Faulkner, Shevlin (Ruddy, 82 mins), Jenkins (Henderson, 66 mins), Cushley. Unused subs: E Kane, Nelson.
Warrenpoint: Parr, Moan, McVeigh, Clarke (McGuigan, 69 mins), Boyle (Smith, 90 mins), Dane, McDonald, Bagnall, M Hughes, Donnelly, Murray. Unused subs: D Hughes, Kierans, Shanahan
Match rating: 7/10
Man of the match: Allan Jenkins
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)