Danske Bank Premiership: Warrenpoint Town 2, Ballymena United 4
Ballymena boss David Jeffrey was naturally delighted with another win on Saturday, but he was also pleased with the quality of football on display and had high praise for both sides in that regard.
“I thought it was a fantastic game of football to tell you the truth,” explained the Ballymena boss, “And you’ve got to say Warrenpoint Town contributed massively to it. I keep banging on about Stephen (McDonnell) and how he sets his team out, how they pass and play and that was an unbelievable system they played today.
“It’s not just about the system though, it’s obviously the players who have got to have the bravery and the courage to get on the ball and to pass the ball. They made us work very, very hard but, in saying that, I’ve got to give credit to my own players because they created several opportunities. Before the penalty we could have been two or maybe three up,” Jeffrey added.
“When we conceded the penalty, I knew in my half-time team talk I’d say you don’t deserve to be a goal behind and then suddenly up pops Stephen McCullough with the most sublime ball at the back post for Cathair Friel’s header and suddenly we’re back even. I’m thinking can we get to half-time, so we can regroup and Cathair Friel comes up again with a superb strike to make it 2-1.
“The bottom line is, we’ve come to a very difficult place. You look at the performances that Warrenpoint Town have put in of late, they’ve been immensely impressive. We knew how tough it was going to be. The fact that it was such a heavy day in terms of weather and the football was of such a high standard is a credit to both clubs and it’s just nice to get a victory.”
The Ballymena manager say he was impressed with how his players had handled the pressure of being top of the table.
“What is so pleasing was the players coming off the emotional high of going top of the league last week. The message is very simple. It’s hard to get there, it’s even harder to stay there and it’s nice to stay there for two weeks in a row.
“It says that we’re taking a game at a time. It says that we’re not getting carried away with ourselves and it also says that when injuries occur, other people are stepping in and doing really well,” he added.
“Injuries are beginning to stretch us now, there’s no doubt about it. The depth of the squad is being tested and we’re delighted to be going back up the road with three points.
“We’ll enjoy today for what it is and then we have a massive game against Crusaders on Tuesday night. We’re carrying a number of knocks emotionally and mentally. There’s tiredness after today and it will be a matter of seeing how we can respond and regroup. Crusaders have a fantastic strong squad in depth. Our injuries mean we don’t have that luxury, so it will be tough.”
WARRENPOINT TOWN: Aaron McCarey, Seanan Foster, Emmet Hughes (Mark Griffin 58), Alan O’Sullivan, Joshua Lynch (Andrew Fox 85), Matthew Lynch, Eamon Scannell, Ciaran O’Connor (James Magowan 85), Robert Norton, Daniel Wallace, Philip Donnelly
Subs not used: Berrat Turker, Simon Kelly, Deane Watters
BALLYMENA UTD: Thomas McDermott, Anthony Kane, Jonathan Addis (Andrew Burns 73), Cathair Friel, James Knowles, Steven McCullough, Kofi Balmer, Jude Winchester, James Ervin, Adam Lecky, Leroy Millar
Subs not used: Ben McCauley, Conor Quigley, Ryan Mayse, Francis Nolan, Matthew Shevlin, Jonathan McMurray