Swifts edge out Warrenpoint

Dungannon's Ryan Harper and Warrenpoint's Padraig Smith
Dungannon's Ryan Harper and Warrenpoint's Padraig Smith

Dungannon Swifts edged a scrappy encounter by a single goal at Stangmore Park with Terry Fitzpatrick’s early goal being the difference between the two sides.

It was Dungannon who were by far and away the better of the two sides in the first half and they had the first shot on goal in the second minute when Stefan Lavery blasted over Jonny Parr’s crossbar.

Fra Brennan then almost put through his own net a minute later when he poked just past the post under pressure from Warrenpoint’s Daniel Hughes. The ‘Point’s clearest chance in the opening period arrived on eight minutes when Liam Bagnall got on the end of Stephen Moan’s corner from the left but he directed his bullet header just wide from ten yards.

Swifts went in front a minute before the quarter hour when a ball in from the left was flicked on by Gary Liggett and Terry Fitzpatrick was on hand to nod it past Parr form close range in a crowded goalmouth to make it 1-0.

They really should have doubled their lead four minutes later when Grant Hutchinson’s through ball found Ryan Harpur looking suspiciously offside on the edge of the box. The flag Warrenpoint wanted never arrived and despite the Dungannon captain having all the time in the world to pick his spot, he only succeeded in blazing over the crossbar.

After Fitzpatrick had headed over from a Harpur free on 37 minutes, Darren Murphy’s men spurned another glorious chance to extend their lead three minutes shy of the interval. Warrenpoint captain John Boyle made a mess of a long punt forward and that allowed Liggett to bear down on goal. However, much like Harpur’s earlier effort, the big striker was wayward with his effort, spooning his left footed short high and wide from 18 yards.

Warrenpoint made two changes at the break, bringing Ruairi Devlin and Darren Freeman into the action and that seemed to lift them as they should have equalised two minutes after the restart when Mark Hughes’ ball in from the left found Stephen McCabe inside the box but he shot wide.

They had a decent shout for a penalty five minutes before the hour when Daniel Hughes went down under the challenge of David McCullough in the area. However, Scottish referee David Robertson gave a free out and harshly booked Hughes for simulation.

After Liggett had his shot saved by Jonny Parr on 65 minutes, Hughes went agonisingly closed 60 seconds later when he go on the end of an angled ball from the right but dragged his left footed shot from 12 yards inches wide of the right hand post.

A much-improved Warrenpoint nearly levelled on 76 minutes when Daniel Hughes cross from the right but Stephen Hughes’ header was held by Buchanan.

Warrenpoint Town: J Parr, Moan, M Hughes, Boyle, S Parr, Smith (Freeman H-T), Bagnall, Havern (Devlin H-T), D Hughes, S Hughes, McCabe (Grant 80)

Subs not used: Cowan, McMullan

Dungannon Swifts: Buchanan, McCullough, Grieve, Brennan, McCaffrey, Topley (C Lavery 64), Harpur, Hutchinson, Fitzpatrick, Liggett, S Lavery (Brolly 83)

Subs not used: Lowe, Glackin, McCashin

Referee: D Robertson