Stephen McDonnell delighted as Warrenpoint Town stun Cliftonville

Warrenpoint manager Stephen McDonnell
Warrenpoint manager Stephen McDonnell

Wow - what a game of football as Warrenpoint Town came back from the dead to claim a 2-1 victory against Cliftonville in the Danske Bank Premiership.

Town looked down and out when a Joe Gormley goal in the 72nd minute appeared to have given Barry Gray’s side the win in what had been a closely contested match.

But two goals in the 94th and 95th minute, from Anto Reilly and Alan O’Sullivan, gave Warrenpoint the win when it looked as if they were heading towards their seventh defeat in seven league games.

And Town manager Stephen McDonnell could not hide his delight after his men claimed the points against a deflated Reds outfit.

“I am chuffed for the players. It’s something we have been building towards and to win the match with two injury time goals,

“You couldn’t write this stuff - you really couldn’t. We understand where we are at this season and we are trying to build on last year and I know it hasn’t been the best of starts and we have taken two heavy defeats.

“So I am so pleased for the players because they knock their bap in training every week.

“We come to the fore with new ideas every week and they keep taking them on board.

“And they didn’t let the two previous defeats get to them and they felt they could go out there and get a result.

“And after the first half we thought we could get a result as we were well in the game and created numerous chances and cut out most of their main threats.

“We knew they would come out in the second half hurt from the first half but we really believe in what we are doing. We are trying to do something different here and I think we excited everybody in the ground today.”

And McDonnell says he worked with the team during the week after the heavy defeats to Ballymena United and Linfield.

“Usually I take a back seat in training but this week I came to the fore and I ruffled a few feathers and demanded everything that the Irish League demands off every player.

“We demanded that and this is the response we got, I am over the moon.”

The Warrenpoint manager said his team should have been ahead and saved themselves from having to grab two very late goals.

“We should have had a few more before then. Our lads know they can compete in this league and that result should breed confidence for the fixtures we have ahead of us. We are also off the bottom of the table which is great.”

It was a different story in the Cliftonville dressing room as manager Barry Gray - obviously disappointed - left straight after the game leaving captain Chris Curran to reflect on the defeat.

“We are very disappointed and we shouldn’t have lost that game.

“Coming down here we weren’t looking for a great performance - we just wanted the three points and get up the road.

“It is massively frustrating to lead right to the death and then give a soft goal away at a set-piece and then lose the game in the end.

“It is the players’ responsibility to put in a performance and get the result - we didn’t do that.”

The Reds now face Lisburn Distillery tomorrow night in the County Antrim Shield.

“It is good we do not have too long now before that game. That might be the best thing and we can try to get back to winning ways.

“Between now and Tuesday, the players will have stuff to think about. It’s been massively up and down this season but I think this group of players have not been good enough. We still have work to do as a group of players and it is the same kind of mistakes that we are making which is frustrating.”