IRISH LEAGUE: Warrenpoint end winning drought with comfortable victory over Coleraine

Warrenpoint's Stephen Murray 'celebrates after scoring during the win over Coleraine
Warrenpoint's Stephen Murray 'celebrates after scoring during the win over Coleraine
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Warrenpoint Town 3 Coleraine 0

Warrenpoint got their first league win in 16 games at the expense of Coleraine as the home side dominated at Milltown and took all three points for the first time since September thanks to a brace from Stephen Murray and an excellent Martin Murray strike.

It was the visitors who had the first shot in anger in the opening minute of the match when Ruairi Harkin volleyed towards goal from 22 yards but the ball flew wide of the right hand post.

Warrenpoint gave a debut to new striker Tiernan Mulvenna and the former Glenavon and Ciftonville frontman should have marked his first appearance with a goal just 11 minutes into the match.

A slick build up from the home side saw Conor McDonald feed the ball into Mulvenna just inside the penalty area. In acres of space, the diminutive striker took a touch before blasting in a shot that Coleraine keeper Michael Doherty did superbly well to tip over the crossbar when it looked certain as if the hosts would take the lead.

The lively Martin Murray, making his first league start since his loan move from Cliftonville was upended by Coleraine captain Howard Beverland just outside the box and the winger curled the resultant free-kick just wide with Doherty statuesque.

Mulvenna spurned a second glorious chance to open his account for his new side on 19 minutes when more good work from McDonald down the left saw the midfielder pull the back across the area to Mulvenna on the penalty spot. However, he miss his kick at the vital moment and the chance was lost.

After a lull in proceeding where Warrenpoint had the majority of the possession without threatening the Bannsiders’ goal, at the other end Beverland headed into the ground and into the arms of ‘Point keeper Johnny Parr just after the half hour mark.

The breakthrough for Barry Gray’s men arrived a minute before the interval and it was no more than they deserved despite the scrappy build-up.

Mark Clarke’s superb driven ball found Stephen Murray on the edge of the box, he hooked it in and with Mulvenna challenging, the Coleraine defence failed to clear and Murray was on hand to rifled home the loose ball from close range on the right to make it 1-0 at the break.

It took just two minutes of the second period for Warrenpoint to double their advantage when Murray made it 2-0 with a brilliant glancing header from a Liam Bagnall corner that flew into the top right hand corner.

They almost made it three a couple of minutes later when Mulvenna laid the ball off to Martin Murray at the edge of the area and his goalbound shot took a nick off a defender before flying over the crossbar.

The visitors should have got back into it on 51 when Sammy Morrow found himself with time and space 15 yards out but his sidefoot effort was palmed away to his left by a full length Parr. They had an even better chance to score on the hour when Ian Parkhill crossed from the right but sub Rodney Brown somehow missed the target with his header at the back post from a couple of yards.

They lived to rue those misses as Warrenpoint all but sealed the victory on 66 minutes when the superb McDonald slipped the ball wide to Martin Murray who lashed home to the left corner of the net.

They could have made it four when sub Johnny McMurray was fouled in the box by Mark Edgar but the striker saw his penalty saved by Doherty five minutes from time.

Warrenpoint Town: Parr, McDonald, M Hughes (Murphy 77), Moan, Dane, McVeigh, Clarke, Mulvenna (McGuigan 69), S Murray (McNurray 71), Bagnall, M Murray

Subs not used: Boyle, Donnelly

Coleraine: Doherty, Beverland, Mullan, Higgins, Douglas, McCauley (Lyons 73), Morrow (McLaughlin 57), Harkin, Parkhill, McGonigle (Brown 57), Edgar

Subs not used: McCafferty, Grissam

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)