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Tipton makes point as lights go out again in Warrenpoint

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Control: Ballymena striker Matthew Tipton assumes possession under the watchful eye of Warrenpoint’s Johnny Cowan

Control: Ballymena striker Matthew Tipton assumes possession under the watchful eye of Warrenpoint’s Johnny Cowan

Control: Ballymena striker Matthew Tipton assumes possession under the watchful eye of Warrenpoint’s Johnny Cowan

Ballymena United striker Matthew Tipton felt that there are signs of improvement within the squad after they arrested a four-game Premiership losing streak with a high-tempo draw away to Warrenpoint Town.

The casualty-plagued Braidmen lost both Aaron Stewart and Brian McCaul to what looked like serious injuries at the break but Tipton struck twice in the second half to put Glenn Ferguson's side ahead.

However, play was interrupted when the floodlights failed to work again at Milltown with the visitors 2-1 in front. After power was eventually restored following a break of 12 minutes, Daniel Hughes headed home his second of the game to earn the hosts a draw.

Former Portadown and Linfield striker Tipton says that, while the delay did affect his side, there were plenty of positives to take out of the performance.

"We were disappointed to go in at half-time 1-0 down," he said.

"We had a couple of chances although they did too and Michael Ruddy has made the best block I've ever seen. He epitomised what we want. He put his body on the line.

"Then to go 2-1 up, I think we were in control at that stage and then we had a bit of farce with the floodlights. I wouldn't say it knocked us out of our momentum because I still thought we were good enough to regain control of the game.

"You could see it on their faces that they were deflated [when Warrenpoint went 2-1 down]. It gave them a chance to regroup and come out again and have a go if they sensed we were a bit upset. All credit to them. It was a good goal but we still had chances after that. I had a couple myself, Boycey had one and Alan Davidson had one. I think overall we're disappointed we haven't won."

While boss Ferguson was eager not to use United's injury list as an excuse for their poor recent run of form, having a number of senior players on the treatment table with serious ailments has taken its toll on a squad which hopes to welcome both Johnny Taylor and Stephen McBride back to action for Saturday's game at home to Ballinamallard.

"We lost another two players at half-time," added Tipton.

"Players aren't tweaking their hamstring or twisting their ankles. There have been broken legs, Cush [David Cushley] has had a knee operation, Johnny [Taylor] has a badly bruised knee and I think we had nine players out.

"Boys are putting their bodies on the line and I think out there we showed we have a bit more about us than maybe we have shown in the last month. It's been disappointing, because we haven't won in that time."

WARRENPOINT 2

BALLYMENA U 2

Warrenpoint: Parr, Cowan, Moan, McVeigh, King, Boyle, D Hughes, Devlin, Bagnall, Grant, O'Connor. Substitutions: S Hughes (O'Connor, 62 mins), McCabe (Grant, 72 mins).

Ballymena: Nelson, Kane, Jenkins, Ruddy, Stewart, McCaul, Thompson, Surgenor, Gawley, Boyce, Tipton. Substitutions: McCullagh (Stewart, 46 mins), Ferguson (McCaul, 46 mins), Davidson (Thompson, 65 mins).

Man of the match: Daniel Hughes

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

Belfast Telegraph