Warrenpoint Town 2, Ballymena United 0

Ballymena United defender Johnny Taylor clears the ball from Warrenpoint Town's Timmy Grant during today's match at Milltown. Picture: Press Eye.
Ballymena United defender Johnny Taylor clears the ball from Warrenpoint Town's Timmy Grant during today's match at Milltown. Picture: Press Eye.

Ballymena United made a disappointing start to 2015 with defeat at Milltown.

The Sky Blues went into the new year fixture of the back of three straight wins but rarely looked like extending that sequence after a listless performance against the Danske Bank Premiership’s bottom side.

Manager Glenn Ferguson made just one change from the team which beat Coleraine on Boxing Day, with Johnny Taylor returning from suspension to replace Davy Munster in the centre of defence.

Warrenpoint could have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute when Ciaran O’Connor found Daniel Hughes inside the box but the ‘Point’s top scorer could only volley over the bar with only United keeper Ballymena keeper Stuart Addis to beat.

Matthew Tipton shot wide a minute later before Mark McCullagh saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Mark Hughes on the quarter hour.

O’Connor almost got on the end of a low Darren King ball from the right on 25 minutes but was inches away top sliding home the opener while United captain Allan Jenkins went agonisingly close to connecting with Darren Boyce’s cross a minute before the interval as the sides went in level at the break.

The second half saw Daniel Hughes again have the opening chances but his curling 30-yard free-kick was superbly tipped over the bar by Addis on 52 minutes. Ballymena’s best chance up until that stage came three minutes later when Jenkins weaved his way through but he poked his shot over the bar.

Then after Addis had come of his line well to deny Liam Bagnall two minutes after the hour mark, Warrenpoint eventually broke the deadlock six minutes later. O’Connor was hauled down in the penalty area by McCullagh and Referee Ross Dunlop pointed to the spot.

Daniel Hughes stepped up to send Addis the wrong way from 12 yards for his tenth goal of the season to make it 1-0.

It could have been two just a couple of minutes later when O’Connor went on a surging run down the right but opted to shoot rather than pull it back to Hughes who was better placed and only found the side netting.

However, Hughes made the result secure for the home side seven minutes from time when he was played in down the right wing and, as Addis advanced, the in-form striker slid the ball underneath the keeper and into the bottom left corner of the net from an acute angle.

Stephen Hughes had an opportunity to put the icing on the cake for Warrenpoint a minute into tome added on but he swept the ball over the bar from 15 yards after a swift counter-attack.

Ballymena United: Addis, T. Kane, McCullagh, Taylor, McBride (sub McCaul), Gawley, Surgenor, Jenkins, Teggart, Boyce (sub Thompson), Tipton. Subs (not used): Graham, Ferguson, E. Kane