Belfast Telegraph

Warrenpoint need new faces on board for basement battle: McDonnell

Warrenpoint Town 1 Glenavon 3

Stephen McDonnell
Stephen McDonnell

By Steven Beacom

Warrenpoint Town boss Stephen McDonnell cut a frustrated figure after seeing his team go down at home to Glenavon.

McDonnell was determined to build on the dramatic success against Dungannon Swifts in the last Milltown league outing but combined with some clinical finishing from the visitors, Town's Achilles' heel this season - sloppy play at the back - cost them at the weekend.

Glenavon broke the deadlock early in the second half when midfielder Rhys Marshall surged through to score. Moments later Danny Wallace took advantage of a mistake from goalkeeper James Taylor, deputising for the injured Jonny Tuffey, to equalise. Then came a double blast from Eoin Wearen and Andrew Mitchell, after slack defending, to seal the first points on the road for Gary Hamilton's team this season.

It was an important victory for the Lurgan Blues, who had lost their previous league games 7-0 and 6-0 to Linfield and Larne respectively.

While Hamilton hopes the win at Warrenpoint can kick-start Glenavon's campaign, the result kept Town rooted to the bottom of the table two points behind Institute.

"We showed lots of heart and bits of quality but the goals we conceded were criminal," said McDonnell.

"We were really competitive in the first half and then made those errors in the second which was disappointing. It's been the same for most of the season.

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"I've had a heart to heart with the players about what they reflect on and what questions they ask of themselves.

"The table doesn't lie, though on the upside we aren't cut adrift. We are in a position which was always possible. Ourselves and Institute were the two surprise packages last season though that's not the case this time.

"We are giving young lads an opportunity here and they need to learn quickly.

"If we are relegated after 38 games their stock takes damage as well as mine and the coaching staff.

"At the moment we are relegation favourites but there is a lot of football still to be played. It's about not being cut adrift in January and trying to get more points on the board. That will give us an opportunity to react in the window because we certainly need to strengthen the squad in terms of depth and quality."

Through a testing period for Glenavon, Hamilton has been delighted by the application and effort of his players in training. He was also pleased with how they took information on board at the break regarding springing more runners beyond striker Mitchell and being more aggressive at set-pieces which led to their first two goals.

Hamilton said: "I thought we controlled the game, won the midfield battle and looked solid at the back and it was a really good result for us. Hopefully we can kick on from here."

WARRENPOINT TOWN: Turker, Bennett (Doyle 66), Reilly, O'Sullivan, Young (Smith 27), Prendergast, Lynch (Forde 56), Watters, Scannell, O'Connor, Wallace. Subs not used: Moran, McVeigh.

GLENAVON: Taylor, Larmour, Doyle, Marshall, Mitchell (Murray 81), Harmon, O'Mahony, Beggs, Singleton, Garrett (Burns 68), Wearen (McCloskey 79). Subs not used: Matthews, Hall, Barr, Jenkins.

Referee: Evan Boyce.

Match rating: 6/10

Man of the match: Andrew Doyle.

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