Ferguson underwhelmed by United display against Mallards

Ballymena United defender Michael Ruddy shows the result of Shane McCabe's retaliation following the incident which led to the dismissal of both players in Saturday's match against Ballinamallard. Picture: Press Eye.
Ballymena United defender Michael Ruddy shows the result of Shane McCabe's retaliation following the incident which led to the dismissal of both players in Saturday's match against Ballinamallard. Picture: Press Eye.

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson has warned his players they will have to step up their performance levels from last weekend.

The Sky Blues boss was underwhelmed by his side’s display in the 1-1 Danske Bank Premiership draw with Ballinamallard, after the performance levels of the previous wins over Glentoran and Cliftonville.

“I was really disappointed in the way we played,” he said.

“Everything we’ve done right in the last two weeks we didn’t do and the only consolation that we can take out of it is that they kept going and I think deservedly got the draw.

“There are too many players who didn’t perform to a level that’s required and that’s the bottom line. They know that and I told them after the game.

“They can’t do that now because we’ve got a squad of players now who are waiting to take their place and I’ve told them that.

“We told them as individuals they have a level to aspire to and if they do that collectively it will all come together so if three or four don’t do it we can’t carry them.

“There’s no excuse for not working hard or not wanting to make a tackle or win a header. We all as footballers had off-days in terms of technical ability but the other stuff you don’t have to be a good player to do.”

Ferguson had no qualms about the red card for Michael Ruddy, but even though Ballinamallard’s Shane McCabe was also dismissed for retaliation in the same incident, the United boss felt his side was more acutely affected.

“I think 11 v 11 we would have won the game because Shane McCabe hasn’t played in a long time while Michael (Ruddy) has good energy getting up and down and it upset our balance.

“We decided to go three at the back and try and win the game. I have no complaints, it was a shocking tackle and I didn’t see Shane McCabe’s reaction but there were enough people who seen that.

““We got into some good areas in the first-half and just lashed the ball across and wasted good opportunities. We were talking on the bench that we would get caught with a sucker-punch goal and we did.”

The United boss was also critical that Mallards keeper Alvin Rouse escaped serious punishment after a high challenge on Ballymena striker Matthew Shevlin.

“Matthew got a terrible whack in the face and I’m bemused by that because if an outfield player even lifts his knee or leg that high it’s a straight sending off whereas goalkeepers seem to get away with it. Irrespective of whether goalkeepers are protecting themselves it is horrendous how they get away with it.

“Allan Jenkins went and made a genuine challenge for a header with him and he gets a free-kick against him. People think I have this thing about goalkeepers, which I probably do to a certain extent, but it’s ridiculous how you can get away with that,” added Ferguson.