Opinion: Let’s hope August is as big a false dawn as other years

Ballymena United's deficiencies when defending set pieces was once again highlighted as Aaron Canning headed Coleraine's second goal  in Saturday's game. Picture: Press Eye.
Ballymena United's deficiencies when defending set pieces was once again highlighted as Aaron Canning headed Coleraine's second goal in Saturday's game. Picture: Press Eye.

If there’s one hope to be gleaned from the chaos of Ballymena United’s season so far, it’s that August will be as big a false dawn as other years.

In two of manager Glenn Ferguson’s three full seasons in charge, United have ended the opening month of the campaign either leading the table or else challenging at the top end.

Did either of them ultimately have a bearing on United’s league position come the end of the season? Not in the slightest.

Let’s hope - for very different reasons this time - that August’s exploits are as big a red herring this season.

Runs of form and results like this aren’t new to Ballymena, but the fact it has taken place at the start of the season is new ground.

For many United fans, the hangover from the Irish Cup semi-final defeat to Portadown last season is as raw as ever.

Winning half a dozen largely meaningless games at the tail end of last season was merely enough to keep the wolf from the door - the acid test was always going to come when the new season began.

The manner of the majority of the goals Ballymena have conceded in the opening games have been appalling and that was maintained in Saturday’s game against Coleraine.

There was a palpable sense of trepidation among United fans in the warm-up and conceding a goal inside two minutes did little to lift the gloom, while another failed attempt to defend a corner resulted in Aaron Canning’s second goal. Ballymena improved in the second half but by that stage the game was long since up.

It makes the next two fixtures against Dungannon and Carrick absolute crunch games - that in itself will be cause for concern for United fans.

* Follow Times Sports Editor Stephen Alexander on Twitter (@Stephen_Bmena)