Ballymena U 0-2 Coleraine: Kearney's United front with Ferguson
Under-fire Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson has been given a vote of confidence by the man who inflicted his latest defeat upon him.
Oran Kearney was delighted to collect all the derby spoils for his Coleraine side at Warden Street on Saturday but spared a thought for his old Linfield team-mate, who walked off to a chorus of fans calling for his head.
Ferguson is adamant he will not quit, but to add to the current turmoil at the Showgrounds he has suspended Tony Kane and Gavin Taggart and placed them on the transfer list for a breach of club discipline believed to be connected to comments allegedly made on social media in midweek.
Hopes for a reaction to the 4-0 defeat by Linfield and the 7-1 humiliation by Glenavon lasted all of two minutes as the simplest of route one goals parted United's porous defence once again for Sammy Morrow to score and Aaron Canning had all the time in the world to head home unmarked from a corner in the 23rd minute to settle the match.
"I know Glenn as a friend and as a manager and in all aspects of life the one things he is not is a quitter and the one thing he is is that he's definitely a winner and I just know he has it in his mentality to take it in his stride and get through it," said Kearney.
"The thing you fear the most is that snowball effect that they've probably rolled into this week."
It wasn't just Ferguson who incurred the wrath of a section of fans at the end. Members of the United board were also being barracked, with the manager admitting that expectations may have risen too high, too soon.
"It's difficult, we have had worse runs and have good runs," he said. "To put it in context we've gone to Linfield who finished second, played Glenavon who were third and then you have your local rivals in a derby which intensifies the pressure."
"For the little bit of success we've had over the last three years we're probably victims of that, we've got to three cup finals, we've got the highest
Ballymena: Nelson, Ervin, Ruddy, Crawford, McVey, Ferguson, Thompson, (Hanley, 60 mins), Jenkins, Shevlin, Tipton (Millar, 67 mins), Cushley (Henderson, 55 mins). Unused subs: McBride, Kane.
Coleraine: Doherty, Canning, Mullan, Douglas, Ogilby, Beverland, Parkhill, McCafferty (Lyons, 78 mins), Morrow, Harkin, Brown. Unused subs: McAuley, McLaughlin, McGonigle, Falconer.
Man of the match: Ruairi Harkin (right)
Match rating: 6/10
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)