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Daniel Hughes admits Warrenpoint are throwing away vital points


Family affair: Daniel Hughes is hailed by brother Mark

Family affair: Daniel Hughes is hailed by brother Mark

Family affair: Daniel Hughes is hailed by brother Mark

While Warrenpoint Town striker Daniel Hughes is in a rich vein of goalscoring form of late, he admits that the basement side need to learn how to close games out if they are to avoid relegation at the end of only their second ever season in the top flight.

Hughes was at the double during the 3-3 home draw with Dungannon Swifts on Saturday and the hosts looked set for a big three points that would have brought them to within three of their opponents only for Swifts skipper Ryan Harpur to earn a share of the spoils with an 87th-minute penalty.

Hughes said it felt like two points lost as opposed to one gained in their battle for survival.

"It's been our downfall most of the season, conceding late goals whenever we're in a winning position," he said.

"I think if we had held on in 90 per cent of those games, we wouldn't be sitting where we are. We would be well up the table. I don't know what it is, whether we sit back too far or our heads go down because we think we're going to concede as we've done it so many times this season.

"It definitely doesn't feel like we got anything out of the game even though we got a point.

"(The manager) said to us in the changing room before the game that coming away from the game without a defeat wasn't good enough, that we must win it. But after the game and not winning, it's not the end of the world.

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"There is still a six-point gap between us and Dungannon and it's certainly do-able. But it's going to be hard work and we have to be prepared to put the hard work in to get above them."

After Andrew Mitchell had struck twice for the Swifts either side of Ciaran O'Connor's reply for the Point, Hughes levelled right on half-time before converting a penalty midway through the second half only for Harpur to level late on.

It's now six goals in his last four games and nine for the season for Hughes and the 22-year-old is prepared to shoulder the burden of firing the South Down side to Premiership safety.

"I have to keep scoring goals," he said.

"As a striker that's what you're there for but I wouldn't be scoring them if it wasn't for the boys around me creating those chances. But there are games where we're not taking enough chances, even though we're scoring every game. We're still not getting wins.

"If we get in front, we have to shut up shop.

"We have to learn how to do that."

Things don't get any easier for Barry Gray's men as they host league leaders Portadown on Friday night but Hughes is more than confident that the underdogs can get a positive result, following their 2-2 draw at Shamrock Park at the end of September where they were 2-0 in front midway through the first half.

He added: "I don't think anyone has come to Milltown and given us the runaround as such.

"We've given everyone a good run for their money but Portadown had another good win against Crusaders and are sitting top of the league and deservedly so.

"It's not going to be an easy game for us but, likewise, we won't make it an easy game for them either and hopefully we can sneak a win."

Warrenpoint: Parr, S Hughes, Moan, McVeigh, King, Boyle, D Hughes, Devlin, Bagnall, M Hughes, O'Connor. Substitutions: McCabe (M Hughes, 62 mins), Breen (O'Connor, 71 mins), Grant (Devlin, 80 mins).

Dungannon: Coleman, Burns, Brennan, Armstrong, Wilson, McCullough, Hazley, Harpur, Glackin, Mitchell, Tomelty. Substitutions: Lavery (Tomelty, 59 mins), Liggett (Mitchell, 75 mins), Douglas (Glackin, 75 mins).

Man of the match: Daniel Hughes (pictured)

Match rating: 9/10

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

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