Warrenpoint Town manager Barry Gray admitted a penalty shoot-out was an “inhumane” way to win a match as his side stayed up by the skin of their teeth in a frenetic play-off win over Bangor on Friday night.
Stephen Hughes converted the winning spot-kick after the home side clawed back a 2-0 first leg deficit with a dominant performance in a superb match that saw chances galore and each side going down to 10 men before the tie went to the shoot-out.
Warrenpoint had top scorer and main penalty taker Daniel Hughes dismissed in stoppage time at the end of extra-time and Gray admitted it wasn’t an ideal situation going into the lottery of spot-kicks.
“It’s not what you want and the first thing you think of is that, if it goes to penalties, you’ve lost one of your first penalty takers.
“But fair play to the five boys, they were first in to take them. Hitting the net, not hitting the net, it doesn’t matter. Anyone who has the balls to stand up and take a penalty, hats off to them and thankfully more of them went in than didn’t,” he said.
“I said to Scatesy [Garth Scates] afterwards, in my mind, no-one deserves to win or lose on penalties. It’s an inhumane way to decide it, but when you’re on this side, you’ll take it and be very thankful of it. I can ask for any more from the players.
“From top to bottom, they were superb and I mean that. We made a couple of changes and the boys that came in that didn’t play on Tuesday night were first class.”
Gray added: “Tonight was a different sort of pressure and you can take it when the outcome is the way it is.
“But I feel sorry for them [Bangor]. We’ve been in their position and thankfully we went up but it’s tough for them because they’ve had a very good season. To be fair to them, they played well and did their bit tonight but, no disrespect, we showed that we are Premiership quality.”