Belfast Telegraph

'It's a reality': David Jeffrey bemoans worst ever injury crisis as TEN players out

Pain game: Cathair Friel was forced off early on
Pain game: Cathair Friel was forced off early on

By Ian Cahoon

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey admits he is experiencing the worst injury crisis of his managerial career.

The Braid boss went into Saturday's 3-0 defeat at home to Larne without the services of NINE first team players on the injury list, while Cathair Friel was forced to withdraw in the first-half with a suspected fractured collarbone.

Jeffrey admits it's as tough as he has known it, whether manager of Linfield or Ballymena - but was quick to insist the visitors ran out worthy winners.

"It's probably the worst I have had in 20-odd years," Jeffrey said of the injury situation.

"There have been occasions when you lose a raft of players, but never to this extent.

"It's not an excuse, but it's a reality, and you have to take that into account when making your final analysis. However I need to congratulate Tiernan and his team.

"They deserved their three points and there are no arguments."

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Jeff Hughes' fourth minute penalty opened the scoring, while Lee Lynch added goals just either side of half-time to wrap up the convincing victory.

While clearly pleased with the result and performance, Larne chief Tiernan Lynch felt it was one that had been coming.

"If truth be told be told, I don't think we have been too much below those levels (in recent weeks)," he said.

"I think if we had we had the rub of the green, or defended a little bit better and been more clinical at certain times, we would be better off in our points total."

BALLYMENA: Ross Glendinning, Addis, Friel (Mayse, 13 mins), K Kane, Carville (McGinty, 67 mins), McGrory, Balmer, Ervin, Aaron Burns, Kelly (Andrew Burns, 67 mins), Lavery. Unused subs: Williamson, Knowles, Reece Glendinning, Annett

Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Sule, McDaid, Tilney, Lynch, Cosgrove, Hughes (McEleney, 62 mins), McMurray (Graham, 72 mins). Unused subs: Mitchell, Ramsey, McKendry, Andrade, Gilmour

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

Man of the Match: Lee Lynch

Match Rating: 7/10

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