WARRENPOINT 0 BALLINAMALARD 1
Warrenpoint fell to a season-opening defeat and had a man sent off in what was a bad day at the office as Ballinamallard claimed all three points at Milltown.
John Currie’s 75th minute strike was enough to see them over the line against a home side who had Mark Clarke dismissed on his debut in the second half.
A tepid opening to proceedings saw chances hard to come by in the opening 45 minutes but it was the home side who looked the livelier in the first half.
Youngster Mark McCabe, making his first start for Warrenpoint, nearly intercepted a Liam McMenamin header back to his keeper early on before Mark Hughes shot well wide from 20 yards in the ninth minute.
At the other end, Mallards’ Ryan Campbell blasted over Jonny Parr’s goal from 18 yards just short of the quarter hour but the best chance of the half fell to Barry Gray’s men half an hour in when another ‘Point debutant Clarke got on the end of Mark Hughes’ corner but could only head over the bar from point blank range when he should have scored.
Campbell cracked a 25-yarder over the bar for Whitey Anderson’s side on 39 minutes before another new Warrenpoint signing, Shane Dolan, saw his low drive comfortably held by Alvin Rouse in the final minute of normal time in the half.
There was more incident in the opening five minutes of the second period than there had been in the entire first half and it was the away side who really should have taken the lead just 30 seconds after the restart.
The busy Shane McCabe found Campbell inside the box on the right and the striker cleverly sidestepped the challenge of Stephen Moan but only succeeded in scooping his effort from 12 yards over Parr’s crossbar when he should have at least made the keeper work.
Controversy reigned on 50 minutes when Clarke was shown a straight red card after tangling with Mallards winger John Currie, The Town midfielder appeared to kick out after the ball had gone but referee Evan Boyce elected to play on. The play was called back as more players got involved in a fracas with Clarke eventually being sent for an early bath.
After Mark Hughes had seen his shot deflected out for a corner by Rouse on the hour, the Fermanagh men took the lead with 15 minutes to go with a classy strike. Michael McCrudden lifted the ball into the path of Currie inside the box and the winger neatly finished past Parr to make it 1-0.
Warrenpoint Town: Parr, King, McVeigh, Boyle, Moan, Clarke, Bagnall, M Hughes, Dolan, McCabe (McGuigan 57), S Hughes
Subs not used: Smith, Dane, Anderson, Marron
Ballinamallard United: Rouse, McMenamin, McLaughlin, Carters, Friars, McCabe, McKenna, Currie, McCartney (Patterson 79), Campbell (Martin 69), McCrudden (Hume 79)
Subs not used: Feeney, McCusker
Referee: Evan Boyce