Gray has faith in Point's great escape
Warrenpoint 3 - Coleraine 0
Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray has urged his players to push on in their battle for survival in the Danske Bank Premiership after they picked up their first home league win of the season on Saturday.
It was also their first Premiership victory since September 5 last year and while it was comprehensive and fully deserved, Gray wants the side to maintain their decent run of form when they host Portadown tomorrow night.
It's now four league games unbeaten for the 'Point with Saturday's victory coming off the back off successive 1-1 draws away to Glenavon and Cliftonville and at home to Carrick on Boxing Day. With loan signings Martin Murray and Johnny McMurray already off the mark in terms of goals and Tiernan Mulvenna making his debut at the weekend, Gray has plenty of options to make up for the loss of Daniel Hughes to Cliftonville and he was pleased with the response to last week's 4-3 defeat away to Dungannon in the Irish Cup.
"Last week we took a bit of a knock at Dungannon because it was a big game for us and the first half performance wasn't great. Today we made a few changes and it's the reaction of those players and other senior players around them that has complemented each other," said Gray, who has also had to do without the injured Stephen Hughes and Darren King in recent weeks.
Mulvenna should have opened his account in the early stages of Saturday's match only for Michael Doherty to produce an outstanding save to deny him before Warrenpoint went in front shortly before half-time when Stephen Murray fired in from an acute angle on the right.
The striker then glanced home Liam Bagnall's corner early in the second half and then Martin Murray finished with aplomb midway through the second half to put the result beyond doubt with the third. It could have been four only for sub Johnny McMurray to be denied from the penalty spot by Doherty's save on 85 minutes.
Warrenpoint now sit six points adrift of Carrick but with three more games played and seven behind Ballinamallard with both playing 23 games so far.
WARRENPOINT: Parr, McDonald, M Hughes (Murphy, 77 mins), Moan, Dane, McVeigh, Clarke, Mulvenna (McGuigan, 69 mins), S Murray (McMurray, 71 mins), Bagnall, M Murray. Unused subs: Boyle, Donnelly
Coleraine: Doherty, Beverland, Mullan, Higgins, Douglas, McCauley (Lyons, 73 mins), Morrow (McLaughlin, 57 mins), Harkin, Parkhill, McGonigle (Brown, 57 mins), Edgar. Unused subs: McCafferty, Grissam
Man of the match: Conor McDonald
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)