Carrick Rangers 1 Warrenpoint Town 2
Votes of confidence from a board to their team manager can, more often that not, go pear-shaped, but for Barry Gray and his Warrenpoint Town players it proved the perfect tonic.
After what Gray described as a chaotic week at the club, they turned up at the Loughview Leisure Arena and avoided the unwanted record of matching their 13 successive Premiership defeats in 2015 with a fully deserved victory over Carrick Rangers.
The two goals by Luke Wade Slater — the winner came in the 88th minute — doubled the team’s tally in their previous five away games this season and left Gray trying to explain what made the difference this week.
“It was the same players, the same management team, the same ethos, but you get to the point in the run we have been on, it’s impossible to get any lower in your own confidence levels,” said the boss.
“This week has been chaotic behind the scenes — that stays between us and the club — but the (public) vote of confidence is what good boards do.
“It’s a vote of confidence to me as a manager and us as a team. By default, it is giving a vote of confidence to the players he has signed and I firmly believe the players we have are good enough. Do we need additional depth? Yes, but every squad needs depth. That’s not a threat to any of the players. Any new players we bring in will help the players not replace them.
“A vote of confidence shows they want stability and want to build on that. You can’t do that by chopping and changing all the time. We all doubt our own roles during the patch we have come through, the manager, the staff, the players hugely — the reality is if you are in this for pats on the back you are in the wrong league.
“ I ask the players to work as hard as they can every week, today they did that and they have been rewarded with three points and the staff and the fans, who I thought were brilliant, also get their reward. It’s a huge boost and we are not going to underestimate that.
“For 12 weeks we had to focus on negatives so when you have a good day like today you have to allow the players to focus on the positives and what they did really well and the parts we didn’t are for another day.”
Carrick dropped points to a rival bottom-six side at home for the first time this season and manager Stuart King took responsibility.
“I haven’t been here all week, I was doing my pro-licence at Manchester City and I lost a good friend too, so it’s been a tough week and that first half performance didn’t help,” said King.
“I thought we were really poor, got a bit of reaction in the second half — David Cushley scored the penalty — but we didn’t deserve to get anything out of it.
“I’ll take responsibility for that, I’ll give my boys a bye-ball today and hopefully we can pick up on Tuesday night.”
CARRICK RANGERS: Hogg, Forsythe, Surgenor, Ervin, Tilney, D Kelly (McGuckin 46), Gawne (Nixon 81), Cherry (E Kelly 58), Anderson (Glendinning 58), Cushley, Gibson.
Unused subs: Shields, Gordon, Kalla.
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Mitchell, Gallagher, Peers, Leddy, Deasy, Dillon, Hutchinson, Ball, Wade Slater, Maguire (Moorhouse 84), O’Sullivan.
Unused subs: Coleman, McVeigh, Mullen, Masterson, Quinn, Shotayo.
Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)
Man of the match: Luke Wade Slater (Warrenpoint Town)
Match rating: 7/10