Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United searching for net gain

By Billy Weir

No disrespect to Ballinamallard but Glenn Ferguson would love to be going just about anywhere else this evening.

That says nothing of what the village has to offer but rather the fact that his Ballymena United side fails to perform time after time against sides they are expected to beat.

Last weekend was a classic case in point, United bossing the home clash with Warrenpoint Town but a mixture of woeful finishing and the desire to get the Sky Blues over the finishing line, seeing them end up empty-handed.

Goals, or a lack of them, continue to be the problem, with United having scored just 10 in their nine Premiership games thus far, with strikers Shane Dolan and Gary Liggett having chalked up two apiece.

It is something that has Ferguson, a man who knows a thing or two about goal-getting, scratching his head.

"It's ironic because we missed so many chances against Donegal Celtic I actually took the six strikers away, three at a time, for an hour, for scoring and shooting drills and the finishing was unbelievable," he explained.

"It was top drawer and I just ask the question do they freeze or are they anxious or can't handle the pressure when it comes to the big occasion?

"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."

The Mallards have scored even less than tonight's visitors and will be smarting after their 4-1 drubbing by Ards last weekend.

Who lines up against them is a mystery though with Ferguson promising changes aplenty.

"Ballinamallard have been beaten and they'll be looking for a response from their players, so every game is tough," he said.

"I hope the players don't think that once they've put pen to paper they can relax and think they're going to see out their contract – it doesn't work like that, some might be in for a rude awakening."

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