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Embarrassed Jeffrey apologises to fans after Sky Blues flop

Ballymena United 1 Warrenpoint Town 3


David Jeffrey's Ballymena will be on the road to start the season

David Jeffrey's Ballymena will be on the road to start the season

David Jeffrey's Ballymena will be on the road to start the season

Fuming David Jeffrey let rip as Ballymena United's season reached a new low on Saturday with an "embarrassing" defeat to Warrenpoint Town.

The Sky Blues are in meltdown, failing to build on the lead that Johnny McMurray gave them, and when things started to go against them, Stephen McDonnell, in his first game as interim Town manager, took full advantage.

Jonathan Parr's penalty save from Tony Kane lifted Warrenpoint and they were level from the spot seven minutes later when Sean Mackle converted after referee Raymond Crangle controversially adjudged that Alan O'Sullivan had been floored by Johnny Flynn.

Town then capitalised on shambolic home defending to take the lead in the 40th minute with Anton Reilly's header and they repeated the act nine minutes after the restart when an unmarked O'Sullivan nodded home.

It leaves United with a mountain to climb to reach sixth spot, starting against Cliftonville tomorrow night, but on this form the Glens have little to fear.

Jeffrey said: "We did fantastically well last year, but did we over-achieve? I can't remember the last time I've had to apologise to supporters because that was unacceptable - simple as.

"We're looking round and thinking what the positive is. The positive is that Glentoran are seven points ahead and one of the games they have is against us so we can get nine points but it's going to be a tough ask.

"That is a challenge you will hope they will take up. It's unacceptable and I'm embarrassed and I'm apologising to the supporters. You can't go out and capitulate yet again, that's the bottom line."

For McDonnell it was a dream start and he paid tribute to his side's determination.

"We showed tremendous character but before they took the lead we had three or four great chances and weren't ruthless enough. And on the flip side the game could have been out of sight the other way," he said.

"At 1-0 you're still in the game, 2-0 makes it a lot more difficult and we got back in the game and created numerous chances.

"We want to stay where we are, that's the first objective but we want to try and catch the teams ahead of us. We want to try and get three points in every game and it's up to us to study the opposition and as a staff deliver some sort of plan.

"We have to survive first and foremost, that's the main objective. I've said before if I do that I'd like to think I'd be considered on a permanent basis."

BALLYMENA: Glendinning, Ervin, Quigley, Burns (Flynn, 14 mins), Balmer, Kane, Faulkner (McCaffrey, 83 mins), McCloskey (Shevlin, 67 mins), Millar, McMurray, McCullough. Unused subs: Weir, McKinney.

Warrenpoint: Parr, McGrandles, Wallace, Reilly, McKenna (Moan, 73 mins), Dane, Watters (Foster, 66 mins), Mackle, Forde (McMenamin, 73 mins), O'Sullivan, Lynch. Unused subs: Turker, Roohi.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

Man of the match: Sean Mackle

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph