IRISH LEAGUE: Magic Murray secures point for Warrenpoint at Ballinamallard

Darren Murray. Pic by Pacemaker.
Darren Murray. Pic by Pacemaker.

Darren Murray swooped with a late equaliser to earn Warrenpoint Town a share of the spoils at an arctic Ferney Park.

With just 13 minutes remaining Murray controlled an Alan Davidson corner-kick on the edge of the box and stepped inside the first defender before lashing a rising shot inside Richard Brush’s left-hand post.

That strike cancelled out Shane McGinty’s 47th-minute finish and came just six minutes after the Mallards’ experienced midfielder Richard Clarke had been sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession.

Clarke’s uncharacteristic dismissal had handed the impetus to the visitors, who almost snatched a winner right at the death when home keeper Brush denied Murray a second.

In the end a share of the spoils was a fair outcome to this late-evening relegation six-pointer and means that the Fermanagh men have closed the gap on second-bottom Carrick Rangers, who were defeated 4-0 by Dungannon Swifts, to four points.

Warrenpoint meanwhile slip to 10th after Ards were surprise 2-0 winners at Glentoran.

The home side shaded the verdict early doors, with Niall Owens whipping over a dangerous low cross which striker Josh McIlwaine couldn’t quite catch.

Young Ben McCann, who got a rare start at the hub of the Mallards defence, had a header from a Stuart Hutchinson cross tipped over by Town stopper Berraat Turker, that after Sean Mackle had an effort chalked off for offside at the other end.

Mackle, too, fired a first-time volley inches wide of Brush’s right-hand post before Murray raced clear to lob the home keeper but, again, the striker’s attempt dropped the wrong side of an upright.

Towards the end of the opening 45 minutes, Dykes’ men appeared to be gaining a foothold - with Hutchinson controlling a delightful crossfield pass from Blaine Burns before cutting in from the right and testing Turker with a left-footed drive.

Moments later, Turker did superbly to push a McIlwaine header from a Clarke cross around the base of his left post but, two minutes after the restart, the Town net-minder failed to hold Owens’ teasing cross from the left and McGinty swooped to volley home.

McGinty then swapped passes with Owens to send a rising shot inches over before Clarke was dismissed after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.

Town manager Matthew Tipton immediately introduced Lorcan Forde in an all-out bid to rescue a point and just six minutes later Murray equalised.

At this stage, there was only likely to be one winner and right at the death Brush denied Murray with defender Colm McLaughlin completing the clearance.

BALLINAMALLARD UNITED: Brush, McConnell, McLoughlin, Smyth, McCann, Leddy (Burns, 15), Clarke, Hutchinson, McGinty, Owens (McCartney, 84), McIlwaine (Taheny, 71).

Subs not used: Curran, Ward.

WARRENPOINT TOWN: Turker, Foster, Moan, Dane (Roohi, 67), Mackle (Forde, 72), McCandless, Wallace, TJ Murray, Davidson, D.Murray, M.Murray.

Subs not used: Parr, Lyttle, Reilly.

Referee: J.Robinson.