Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United: Glenn Ferguson's host of regrets for his side

By Graham Luney

After every Cup final the losing manager goes home with the 'what ifs' swirling around in his mind.

Glenn Ferguson was no different. What if his players hadn't given cheap goals away, what if David Cushley had been 100% fit and firing, what if his defence had been more resolute and what if different officials had been appointed to this game.

After referee Raymond Crangle's contribution in May's Irish Cup final which Ballymena United lost to Glenavon, Ferguson was not thrilled to learn the Belfast whistler would be centre stage again in the Wasp Solutions League Cup final - and his mood was hardly improved when he felt that United should have been awarded a penalty after Eamonn Seydak's 70th minute handball.

Cushley's challenge on Seydak shortly afterwards was horrendous and yet Crangle didn't even signal for a foul and the Reds were also fuming when Johnny Taylor kicked keeper Peter Cherrie on the head as the keeper landed holding the ball near the end.

"I'm not gurning or trying to make excuses but a penalty should have been given when the Cliftonville player had both hands around the ball in the box," said Ferguson.

"We have six officials covering every angle of the pitch and it's about having the b**** to make a decision.

"This is nothing against Raymond Crangle but I questioned the decision to appoint him for this game and David Malcolm (NIFL Refereeing Officer) apologised, saying he was the most senior and experienced referee they had to take charge."

The United boss was also reluctant to criticise Cushley following his tackle on Seydak as the referee's assistant, who was five yards away, failed to signal a free-kick.

"Hopefully Eamonn is ok," he added. "It beggars belief that the linesman is five yards away and it's a bad challenge - make a decision."

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