Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson hoping cup final serves to inspire Sky Blues

By Gareth Cauldwell

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson is hoping his side can now push on in the league after securing a Wasp Solutions League Cup final meeting with Cliftonville with a 3-2 win over Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park on Tuesday night.

Ferguson's side have struggled in the league in recent times but he is hoping that this win will see their fortunes change.

"I've just said to the players that they have got to take the positives out of that," said the Sky Blues boss.

"We have come to a very difficult ground and we've got ourselves into a cup final.

"We did have a run of games where we were playing Linfield, Cliftonville, Crusaders, and the injuries we had were horrendous, but hopefully now we have a run of fixtures coming up, and the injuries are clearing up, so hopefully we can pick up more points.

"There is also cup final places to be played for.

"If the players can give everything they have, we can pick up points and they can play themselves into a cup final place."

Ballymena's record at Ferney Park ahead of the tie was underwhelming to say the least with the Braidmen having failed to score a single goal at the ground in their previous visits.

And things did not look promising when Ballinamallard deservedly took the lead through Ryan Campbell only for Allan Jenkins to level in added-on time at the end of the first half.

"It has been well documented that not only have we not won down here, but we haven't scored," said Ferguson.

"We made hard work of it, in the first half in particular. I thought Ballinamallard started very well, they are a good side and they play good football here on what is a beautiful pitch and they deserve a lot of credit for what they have done here.

"I think the turning point in the game was us getting that goal on the stroke of half-time."

United now look forward to a tussle against Cliftonville in the decider.

Ferguson added: "They have good players all over the park but we have played Cliftonville on a number of occasions and we have matched them at times and took a couple of thumpings off them as well.

"We'll see what kind of squad we have and hopefully the match will be played on grass and will be at a neutral venue."

The Wasp Solutions League Cup final between Cliftonville and Ballymena United may be moved from Saturday, January 24 to the Friday night for live television coverage.

The showpiece decider, expected to take place at Windsor Park, could kick off in front of BBC cameras on Friday, January 23.

Admission costs will be priced at £12 for adults and £8 for concessions.

League games scheduled for that weekend which now need to be rearranged due to the final clash are Ballymena United v Glentoran and Linfield v Cliftonville.

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