IRISH LEAGUE: Barry Gray not making any excuses after defeat to Glenavon

Warrenpoint's Martin Murray with Glenavon's Andy Kilmartin
Warrenpoint's Martin Murray with Glenavon's Andy Kilmartin

Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray refused to use the excuse of not having number one goalkeeper Jonny Parr available for their home defeat against Glenavon on Saturday.

Parr, who has been in sparkling form since returning to the side following a long lay-off, had to sit out Saturday’s match after picking up a leg injury a fortnight ago against Crusaders.

Stefan Graham came in for his first start at only 17 years of age and Gray felt his players didn’t help him enough, with Declan O’Brien scoring two unmarked headers, one in either half to set the Lurgan Blues on their way to victory.

Although Liam Bagnall did pull one back 13 minutes from time with a well-taken goal, Mark Sykes ensured the three points would travel back to Mourneview Park with a late header for the third goal.

“The players had a responsibility to make sure we didn’t miss him [Parr]. Stefan has done well for us and you can’t fault him too much. Yes, if Jonny had been in it would have added an extra structure to us but we’re well past having one or two players out and using that as an excuse,” said Gray.

“You can’t go in and just blame the keeper because we’ve conceded three goals.”

Glenavon defender Kris Lindsay, who had to go off at half-time after being briefly knocked unconscious by a fiercely struck Stephen Murray shot, was pleased with the way his side managed the game, given their opponents’ recent upturn in form.

“Warrenpoint have been in a great run of form since the turn of the year, since they brought their loan signings in. They have been smashing for them,” he said.

“Marty Murray’s been on fire and you saw again today, he gave Rhys [Marshall], who’s probably the best full-back in the league, a good game. It was always going to be tough to come down here so we’ve got to be happy with the win,” said Lindsay, who praised the patience shown by O’Brien for waiting for his chance to become a regular starter.

“He’s had to bide his time with the quality we have. He’s come in the last couple of weeks and he’s a different type of player to Skinner [Eoin Bradley] and to Kevin [Braniff], he plays on the shoulder and he plays inside the six-yard box and you saw that with his two goals from close range. The quality we have in wide positions is good. Joel Cooper was missing today but Andy Hall puts in some smashing deliveries and strikers like Fabio thrive on that and he got his just rewards with two goals and he probably could have had another with a bit more luck.”

Warrenpoint: Graham, M Hughes, McVeigh, Dane, Moan, Bagnall, Clarke, McDonald (Donnelly 67), S Hughes (McMurray 67), M Murray, S Murray

Subs not used: Smith, McCabe, McCoy

Glenavon: Tuffey, Dillon, Lindsay (Elebert H-T), Kilmartin, Hall, Sykes, McGrory, O’Brien (Patton 88), Marshall, Hamilton (Kelly 82), Martyn

Subs not used: Marron, Burns

Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Dundonald)