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No dream start for Matthew Tipton as Ballymena United win numbers game

Warrenpoint Town 0 Ballymena United 2

By Gareth McCullough

Published 17/11/2016

On target: Cathair Friel bagged his 15th goal of the season for Ballymena
On target: Cathair Friel bagged his 15th goal of the season for Ballymena

David Jeffrey's Ballymena United made it a losing start for new Warrenpoint Town manager Matthew Tipton as the Braidmen safely ensured their passage into the last four of the League Cup at Milltown.

After Point skipper Liam Bagnall had been sent off late in the first half for a tackle on Jim Ervin, Willie Faulkner and Cathair Friel made the visitors' numerical advantage count after the break with two goals in the space of six minutes.

The opening chance arrived on 11 minutes for the visitors when Tony Kane's cross from the right fell to Darren Henderson on the edge of the box and his mis-hit shot went towards goal but just wide as Friel stretched but was unable to get a connection.

After Friel had scuffed his shot wide when he should have done better and Darren King volleyed over on the half hour at the other end, the home side's best chance of the half arrived on 34 minutes.

The lively Conor McMenamin got to the byline before lifting the ball back to Stephen Murray, but Warrenpoint's top scorer could only volley into the ground and straight into the grateful arms of Sky Blues keeper Ross Glendinning.

The big talking point of the first 45 minutes arrived eight minutes before the break as Warrenpoint were reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of captain Bagnall.

The midfielder, in his attempt to close down his opposite skipper Ervin on the edge of the box, went in high and caught the former Linfield man. Referee Keith Kennedy had no hesitation in showing Bagnall the red card as the sides went in scoreless at the interval.

Tipton's men spurned two gilt-edged opportunities to go in front in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

On 52 minutes McMenamin pounced on a poor ball from Glendinning to go through on goal but screwed his shot woefully high and wide. Then, three minutes later, a beautiful flick from John McGuigan set Murray racing through down the right channel.

However, he delayed his shot and that gave Glendinning time to come off his line and smother the ball out for a corner.

They came close again on the hour mark when King's low drive across the box was met by McMenamin eight yards out but after a heavy first touch, his sidefoot effort was straight at the keeper.

The Sky Blues went in front against the run of play two minutes later and from a Warrenpoint view, it was a goal that could have been avoided. Aaron Traynor failed to clear with his header and when the ball fell to Faulkner he made no mistake and fired home past Jonny Parr from 10 yards out.

It became 2-0 15 minutes from time and again it was a goal helped by the home team. After Dermot McVeigh had done so well to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Henderson, the Point defender dallied and allowed the Sky Blues ace to nick the ball off him again.

His shot was kept out by Parr but the ball only fell to Friel who had the simplest of tasks to knock it into the empty net and put the game beyond the hosts.

Belfast Telegraph

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