Dungannon Swifts 1 Ballymena United 3
Dunganon Swifts manager Dean Shiels has warned that new faces will be needed this summer, and they require much more attacking quality.
He watched Ballymena United inflict his side’s 28th Premiership defeat of the season yesterday when, despite playing well for the opening 40 minutes, everything changed in the aftermath of Conor Keeley’s goal late in the first half.
Shiels was bitterly disappointed with his side’s efforts in the final third and their lack of goal threat has been a problem all season — as is demonstrated by their record of just 19 strikes in 36 outings.
Shiels said: “We do well up until we get to 20-25 yards out and then we lack a cross, we lack the movement, we lack ruthlessness and the desire to get in and score and it is so evident in our play.
“We lack responsibility in the final third as well and it is something that needs rectified at the end of the season. We need players, we need to add quality to the group. There is a reason why our goal tally is what it is.
“We need to work on it as well on the training pitch, but we have worked and worked and worked on building through — getting through the first phase in the second third and the play is good — then we get to 25 yards out and we crumble.”
The deadlock was broken just before the break when Keeley got on the end of Ross Redman’s cross.
United stepped it up in the second half, with Shay McCartan’s curling effort clipping the crossbar.
McCartan then turned provider, playing a delightful reverse pass to find Leroy Millar, who fired home their second from a tight angle.
Trai Hume got the third in the 62nd minute, heading in after a corner from Redman wasn’t cleared.
Dungannon did pull one back late on as Mark Patton’s free-kick was turned in by Oisin Smyth.
The win moves Ballymena to within three points of seventh-placed Glenavon, keeping them in the hunt for one of the European Play-Off spots.
Boss David Jeffrey said: “We had to win today to stand any chance of seventh, so we are pleased.
“We knew it was going to be very difficult but I thought over the 90 minutes, we played well. I was delighted with the efforts of the boys and to get the three points.”