Cliftonville-bound Daniel Hughes regrets his failure to depart Warrenpoint in style
Warrenpoint 1 - Carrick Rgs 1
There was no farewell goal for Cliftonville-bound striker Daniel Hughes as basement side Warrenpoint Town were held to a draw at home to nearest rivals Carrick Rangers.
Hughes, who signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Solitude men before Christmas and will be an interested onlooker when the Reds host 'Point on New Year's Day, was denied by Carrick keeper Brian Neeson on three occasions in the second-half as the hosts desperately pushed for the win that would have closed the gap to six points on Gary Haveron's men.
"I thought we were the better team all over," said Hughes.
"The pitch wasn't ideal and I think we did the best we could but we had enough chances to win. Their keeper pulled off a few good saves but a point is better than no points. Three points would have been nice for a good send off."
After Daniel Kelly had headed Carrick in front on 16 minutes, Warrenpoint battled back to level through Sean Donnelly's 33rd minute strike after Hughes' shot hadn't been held by Neeson before the keeper redeemed himself with a number of superb stops after the break.
"There weren't really too many clear-cut chances," added Hughes. "Their keeper has done well. I think we've been creating a lot more chances over the last few weeks. Now it's a case of relying on other teams' results against Carrick to get Warrenpoint out of the position that they're in."
Warrenpoint manager Barry Gray has reacted to Hughes' imminent departure by snapping up three forwards with Martin Murray and Johnny McMurray moving from Cliftonville on loan until the end of the season and former Reds and Glenavon striker Tiarnan Mulvenna arriving from Drogheda United.
Hughes feels they will be welcomed with open arms and hopes they can fire the south Down men to safety.
"The last couple of games have shown a major improvement in what we have been doing," he said. "I know the three boys that are coming in will settle in really quickly because that's the way the changing room is. It's a friendly changing room so hopefully they come in, do well and score goals for the team."
WARRENPOINT: Parr, McDonald, M Hughes, Moan, Donnelly (Rooney, 82 mins), McVeigh, Smith (McGuigan, 68 mins), D Hughes, Murray, Bagnall, Boyle. Unused subs: Clarke, Kierans, Dane
Carrick: Neeson, Traynor, Surgenor, Kelly, Harmon, Cherry (McNeill, 89 mins), Chines (Browne, 86 mins), Roy (Mackie, 86 mins), Johnston, McCaul, Taggart. Unused subs: Kane, Doyle
Man of match: Brian Neeson (pictured)
Match Rating: 6/10
Referee: Stephen Gregg (Ballyclare)