Belfast Telegraph

Darren Boyce on the mark to make Warrenpoint Town rue their misses

Ballymena U 2-1 Warrenpoint

By Gareth McCullough

Ballymena United somehow came away with all three points from their battle with Warrenpoint Town, who had only themselves to blame for spurning a number of clear cut chances.

Darren Boyce's header late on saw the hosts come back from a goal down to take the win after Daniel Hughes had put the away side in front.

Warrenpoint should have gone in front as early as the fifth minute when John McGuigan got the better of Michael Ruddy down the right and whipped in a cross right onto the head of the unmarked Daniel Hughes, but he headed wide when he should have at least made keeper Tim Allen work.

Ballymena had their best chance of the first half on 25 minutes. Boyce crossed from the left for Matthew Tipton to head goalwards only for Point keeper Jonny Parr to make an excellent save, diving to his left to push the ball out for a corner.

It was still the visitors who looked the more likely to open the scoring and, after McGuigan had flicked the ball over the bar from close range following an excellent run and cross from Daniel Hughes, Warrenpoint did take the lead on the half hour.

Ruairi Devlin's dinked ball over the top from the left saw Daniel Hughes beat the offside trap and race clear on goal before sidefooting past Allen for his fourth goal in two games and his 16th of the season.

They should have doubled their lead seven minutes later when Conor McDonald's slide rule pass set Stephen Hughes through but, as he tried to round Allen, the keeper did superbly to claim the ball at Hughes' feet.

Ballymena then began to come into the game and drew level with a well worked goal on 38 minutes. Jim Ervin's ball over the top set Michael Surgenor free down the right and his cut back found Tipton unmarked to slot past Parr from eight yards.

After McGuigan had flashed an effort from distance just wide of the right hand post on 58 minutes, Ballymena almost took the lead against the run of play three minutes later. Neal Gawley whipped a free kick in from the right and Paddy McNally rose highest, only to see his header come back off the crossbar.

McNally was then the hero at the other end on 65 minutes when he cleared off the line after it looked like Stephen Hughes had forced home the rebound after had spilled McGuigan shot.

Despite being second best on the night, Ballymena won the game with seven minutes remaining. Tipton crossed from the right for Boyce to ghost in and glance his header just put of the reach of Parr to make it 2-1.

Ballymena United: Allen, Ervin, Taylor, McNally, Ruddy, Gawley, Surgenor, Jenkins, Boyce, Tipton, McAllister. Substitutions: Kane (McNally, 68 mins), Thompson (Surgenor, 73 mins), McBride (Ruddy, 78 mins).

Warrenpoint Town: Parr, King, Cowan, McVeigh, McDonald, D Hughes, S Hughes, Bagnall, M Hughes, McGuigan, Devlin (Smith 68). Substitutions: Smith (Devlin, 68 mins), Frazer (S Hughes, 88 mins).

Man of the match: Tim Allen

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

Belfast Telegraph


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