Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray hits out at scheduling

Marty Havern keeps possession from David Ogilby
Marty Havern keeps possession from David Ogilby

Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray hit out at the scheduling of a full programme of Premiership fixtures on Easter Tuesday following his side’s narrow defeat at home to Coleraine.

While Shaun Parr and Darren King will be available again following suspension, Gray admitted that he will be missing at least three players due to work commitments for their 2.30pm kick-off against Irish Cup finalists Ballymena United at Milltown on Tuesday.

With combative midfielder Liam Bagnall sitting out the last of a three-game ban as well, Gray has selection problems due to the early kick off.

“It’s a ridiculous decision to have Easter Tuesday afternoon matches because of the Champions League on Tuesday night meaning we can’t play that night,” he said.

“We have players unavailable. The Champions League is really going to affect us here at Warrenpoint,” he said tongue-in-cheek.

“It’s alright if you’re full-time but that doesn’t work at our club and we will have at least three players unavailable for Tuesday.”

A poor match on Saturday was only brightened up by Gareth Tommons’ winner midway through the second period.

It is a goal that sees Warrenpoint fall two points behind Ballinamallard with two games left as they aim to avoid a potential relegation play-off.

Tommons was played in by a precision pass form Michael Hegarty and he slotted past Jonny Parr in the Warrenpoint goal to earn all three points for his side.

The hosts almost equalised late on but Coleraine keeper Eugene Ferry held Jonny Cowan’s close-range header.

Gray admitted that his side hadn’t done enough to deserve to win the game – their first back at Milltown following their second spell at Stangmore Park due to remedial work being carried out on the playing surface in south Down.

“We created very little in the final third and the pitch probably played a big part in that. We weren’t able to knock the ball around the way we have been doing. I don’t think there is too much to worry about but it’s just disappointing to concede a silly goal that proved to be the difference between the two sides,” said Gray.

“Obviously a win would have been massive for us with everyone in the mix but we have Ballymena on Tuesday and Ballinamallard next week and we just have to try and take as many points out of those games as possible.”

Bannsiders boss Oran Kearney was happy that his side came out on top and is looking towards next season already after what has been a relatively poor campaign by Coleraine standards.

“Credit to the lads. I’m delighted for them. We’re not a bad side. I don’t think the side we have reflects where we are in the league at this point in time. We need to draw a line under this season and move on and hopefully this result is the start of doing that,” he said.