Manager left mystified as United squander two-goal lead

GLENN Ferguson admitted that he was mystified by his side’s inability to hold onto a two-goal lead in Saturday’s 2-2 Danske Bank Premiership draw with Donegal Celtic.

Sean Cleary’s injury-time penalty means that Ballymena have failed to win any of their last six league games.

“I thought we had done enough in the first half,” said Ferguson.

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“We had worked really hard in training this week to put last week (7-0 defeat at Glenavon) to bed, and by half-time, it was paying off.

“Again I’ve had to go in at the end and have a chat, for want of a better word, with the players on how we failed.

“Our mental attitude was poor, and we couldn’t see the game out.

“We let them come back into it, and we didn’t control the second half the way we controlled the first.

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“The first 10 minutes of the second half, we hardly got a kick of the ball.

“We created a couple of half chances but overall I didn’t think our play in the second half was as good as the first – we didn’t keep the ball as well as we had done.”

Ferguson was critical of referee Andrew Davey for awarding the stoppage time spot kick after adjudging that Allan Jenkins had brought down Cleary close to the dead-ball line.

“It was never a penalty. Allan Jenkins is an honest professional, and their player has kicked him in the back of the leg after getting his leg in front and the referee has given a penalty.

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Referees have a hard job, but they get paid a fair whack of money to make decisions and make the right ones, but he has got that one wrong today and it has cost us a win.

“I’m not blaming him solely for that – we didn’t do enough in the second half to see the game through.

“The first goal also came down to players not being switched on for the whole 90 minutes.

“We had done well for the first 45 minutes and we told them to go out and do exactly the same thing and they didn’t do that.

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“We can’t keep throwing points away like that – if we do, we will get severely punished.

“Mark Surgenor was one of our best players, and I thought David Cushley was good as well.

“It was probably one of the strongest teams we’ve had out for a while and they proved that in the first half.

“But there’s only so much I can go on and tell them because they do have the fitness levels to see games through but it’s a mystery to me how that happens,” added Ferguson.