Breathe and build the message now from Warrenpoint Town’s Barry Gray

Barry Gray’s post-match message from away success at Shamrock Park was to breathe then build.

By Patrick Van Dort
Monday, 1st February 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 1st February 2021, 5:30 pm

The Warrenpoint Town boss accepted that life in the dugout tends to centre on the next challenge over any immediate sense of satisfaction - but wanted his squad to embrace the positives from a 2-0 victory over Portadown.

Scoresheet success for forwards Brandon Doyle and Ryan Swan on top of a clean sheet capped a perfect afternoon in Portadown for Gray.

“We were a bit edgy in the first half, everyone’s talked about our great start to the season but going into today’s game if we had lost you find yourself down in the bottom two or three very quckly,” said Gray. “There was a stark reality for the players, they realise just how nip-and-tuck it is and that was displayed in our first-half performance and even in our pre-match warm-up.

Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray. Pic by Pacemaker.

“It’s not that we were particularly poor but they had two great chances and the goalkeeper made at least one great save, if not two.

“The players will get the message that this (today) is great but if undone on Tuesday then we’re no further on, especially between the teams around us.

“But you also have to enjoy a 2-0 win.

“I always say we, as managers or coaching staff, are first to zap the goodness out of everything as you’re always on to the next training session or game.

“For now, it’s a case of letting them breathe and relax off a good win after the last few games we’ve had.”

Portadown dominated the majority of play before the break but Warrenpoint displayed the second-half cutting edge to gain control.

“At half-time it wasn’t about a rant, we weren’t at our best in the first half and struggled to get out of our half,” said Gray. “They had a period when really at us by going over the top over and over again but without the clearcut chances from it.

“The half-time break allows you to reset more than anything, for some wee shifts and changes very hard to do from the bench during the game.

“Any manager at any level will be delighted when he sees his two strikers scoring goals.

“But we were pleased with the supply and the defensive display in the second half when relatively comfortable.

“If your backline is confident enough to then squeeze up the field it gives you a chance in the other half.

“It was a tough game in the first half, we enjoyed the second half although still edgy at 1-0 until the second goal goes in.

“In this league you are rarely in that situation of 2-0 up going into the last few minutes.

“In theory, the games we need to win are those around us...so it puts us into a good confident position to kick on.

PORTADOWN: Carney, Hall, McCallum (Lavery, 54), Finnegan, McKeown, Bonis, Guy (Salley, 70), Teggart, Warde (Murray, 70), Healy, Tilney

Subs (not used): Buchanan, Lavery, Tipton, Salley, Murray, Conaty, Kerr

WARRENPOINT TOWN: Sava, Deasy, Ball, Dillon, McCaffrey, Gallagher, Swan, Hutchinson (McVeigh, 89), Wallace, Evans (Knox, 89), Doyle (Carroll, 85).

Subs (not used): Coleman, O’Connor, Mullen, Cowan

Referee: Evan Boyce