Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United ready to rebound in huge derby clash after Oval agony

Proud: David Jeffrey says his players deserve a lot of credit
Proud: David Jeffrey says his players deserve a lot of credit

By Alex Mills

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey insists his boys will require little motivation for today's derby clash with Larne at the Showgrounds.

The Sky Blues have every right to be licking their wounds following their agonizing defeat by Glentoran at the weekend.

Not only had Jeffrey to use midfielder Declan Carville in goals - Jordan Williamson and Ross Glendinning were ruled out due to suspension and injury - but his gutsy United had their pockets picked only three minutes from time when Robbie McDaid issued the ultimate punishment for a defensive error.

Then, with everyone forward pushing for an equaliser, including makeshift shot-stopper Carville, the Glens broke to pinch a second goal deep into injury time, courtesy of Navid Nasseri.

Jeffrey's agony was compounded when influential striker Adam Lecky was sent off for his part in an ugly brawl that involved practically every player on the pitch.

"The players deserved an awful lot of credit," said Jeffrey. "Again, we had 12 people unavailable through one reason or another.

"We just keep getting knocked down and knocked down, but we keep getting back up again... I was very proud of their performance at The Oval.

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"The lads will require no lifting for the Larne game. They have taken ownership of the situation and have been ultra-professional.

"They have sacrificed themselves over the festive period and have been really good. I told them to go away and enjoy themselves with family and friends (after the Glentoran game).

"We were back in again on Monday night to begin our preparation for the New Year's Day game. It's going to be a massively tough match Larne."

Jeffrey will again have to reshuffle his pack with Lecky having to sit out an automatic one match ban, but at least he should have a recognized goalkeeper on duty this time.

"To my knowledge Jordan will be back. I understand his sending off for an alleged handball was a one game ban, so he should be clear for the game."

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