Belfast Telegraph

Warrenpoint's Barry Gray frustrated but Linfield boss Warren Feeney feels right at home

Linfield 1 - Warrenpoint 0

By Luke Hope

Linfield manager Warren Feeney shook the hand of his counterpart Barry Gray and, with a naughty wink of the eye, urged him to persevere with his team's attractive brand of football.

Big defender Mark Haughey may have earned the Blues joint top spot in the Danske Premiership table by bagging a first half winner, but Warrenpoint Town certainly made it an uncomfortable afternoon for Feeney's boys in their first home venture of the season.

With Windsor Park in the process of being upgraded into a state-of-the-art 18,000 all-seated arena, the home fans were housed in the North Stand. Quite a few of them were chewing at their fingernails long before Mervyn Smyth finally brought their agony to an end with the final blast of his whistle.

"It was a nice touch from Warren at the finish," beamed Point chief Gray.

"He shook my hand and acknowledged the way we played. He urged me to keep going the way we are, in terms of our footballing ability.

"It's the first time he has come up against us and was probably surprised with the way we played.

"But the secret is getting something out of the game in terms of points after putting in a shift like that. It's a building process. We have a squad of 20 lads and 12 of them were playing pub football two years ago.

"You can't attempt to leap into perfection. We have to take one step at a time. That, however, doesn't stop me from being frustrated. The players are disappointed with the result, but we just need to keep focusing on the positive aspects from the display."

Haughey had the home faithful on their feet nine minutes before the interval, climbing high to head home an Ivan Sproule cross. It was one of a number of inviting opportunities instigated by the former Northern Ireland winger.

Gray added: "Sproule is going to cause every team problems. He's a lively player who can make things happen. We were forced to tweak our shape in the latter stages of the first half to counteract his threat."

Home boss Feeney admitted it was a tense 90 minutes, but pocketing the three points was crucial.

"There was always going to be a certain amount of pressure on everyone, playing at Windsor Park for the first time this season," he said. "Warrenpoint Town may be struggling at the bottom of the table, but they were coming off the back of two good results.

"Fair play to them. They came here and wanted to play the right way. I don't care whether it was 1-0 or 10-0. Getting the three points were more important."

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