Belfast Telegraph

Another flop leaves Ballymena United fans restless

By Billy Weir

Ballymena United 0 Warrenpoint Town 1: The honeymoon period for Glenn Ferguson is well and truly over at the Showgrounds where the natives are getting louder and more restless by the day.

Ferguson will shoulder much of the blame, such is the lot of the manager, but his side, who have now lost to both promoted teams this season, must hold their hands up too.

A look at the table, where the Sky Blues now sit in ninth, tied with this Friday night's opponents Ballinamallard United on goal difference, shows they've won three games thus far, but only the most blinkered fan will, hand on heart, say they deserved three points from wins over Crusaders and Portadown.

Therein is the age-old crux of the matter that has plagued Warden Street for years, the ability to pilfer the odd eye-catching win over the contenders, out-weighed by feeble capitulation to the lesser lights.

Wins must be earned by quality coupled with hard work and honest endeavour and, at the moment, while Ferguson's squad possesses genuine quality, it is displayed fleetingly at best and without a clinical edge that their manager showed throughout his illustrious playing career.

"It's been a very, very long time since I was embarrassed in football as I was today. How those players can't go out and perform against a team, no disrespect to Warrenpoint, beats me," he blasted.

"We created enough chances, we just didn't want to score enough, and we get sloppy and make one mistake at the back and get punished for it.

"We've got to hold our hands up. I take responsibility for the result, ultimately, but you can't put players out and take responsibility for their performance, or lack of, because I just thought some of the performances were inept.

"There are players who have had the arm around the shoulder and obviously haven't been very responsive, so maybe it's time for a kick in the b****.

"I wish we were going to play Linfield, Glentoran, Portadown, Cliftonville or Crusaders because those are the games I know where the players are up for it and have to put in a performance."

That's the case with Warrenpoint every week, the team that has to travel an hour for a home game, taking their only real clear-cut chance of the match when substitute Stephen Hughes scored four minutes after coming on at the break.

Bary Gray played down his managerial masterstroke and was happy to let his players bask in the glory.

"I'm lucky, maybe, but we saw the opportunity where we could put two strikers further up the park a bit and it has worked out for us" he said. Stephen will probably say I made the right choice but I made the wrong one in not starting him."

Ballymena United: Nelson, Kane, Taylor, McCullagh, Ruddy, Teggart (McLellan, 63 mins), Stewart, Thompson (Davidson, 67 mins), Cushley, Liggett (Dolan, 63 mins), Jenkins. Unused subs: Munster, Taggart.

Warrenpoint Town: J Parr, King, M Hughes, S Parr, Moan, Boyle, Devlin (Smith, 66 mins), Bagnall, D Hughes (Havern, 77 mins), Grant (S Hughes, 46 mins), McCabe. Subs not used: Kearns, Cowan.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

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