Players ‘like rabbits in headlights’ in cup defeat - Ferguson

Ballymena United's players turn away in disappointment as James McLaughlin scores his and Coleraine's second goal in tonight's JBE League Cup quarter-final at the Showgrounds. Picture: Press Eye.
Ballymena United's players turn away in disappointment as James McLaughlin scores his and Coleraine's second goal in tonight's JBE League Cup quarter-final at the Showgrounds. Picture: Press Eye.

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson claimed some of his players were “like rabbits in the headlights” in tonight’s JBE League Cup quarter-final defeat by Coleraine.

“If we had competed the way we can and lost to Coleraine it wouldn’t have disappointed me as much because they have been playing well - it’s the way we lost the match has really annoyed me,” said Ferguson.

“In the first half we were way off it - we were lucky to come in at 1-0 down.

“In the second half we huffed and puffed but didn’t have enough quality.

“The keeper made one good save from Allan Jenkins’ header and the only real shot we had on target, the keeper spilled it and Kyle McVey stuck it in.

“Some of our players were like rabbits in the headlights tonight and didn’t play anywhere near their potential.

“People will say we were missing key men - there was one change from Saturday (the suspended David Cushley) when we played really well so I’m not even going to think about using that as an excuse.

“Every player we have here we feel is capable of playing in the first team.

“Boys who have been in the team didn’t play as well as they should have done and the boys who came on didn’t really do an awful lot.

“You’re playing against your biggest rivals in a cup quarter-final and you don’t give it everything you have - you can’t carry passengers in games like that and that’s what we’ve done.

“Both goals look as if we’ve tried to play an offside trap - that is not something we talk about or work on, so it has to be down to people switching off, not going with their runners and picking up properly.

“Someone like James Mclaughlin, who is in a rich vein of form, his confidence is high, he’s obviously a good finisher, you can’t give him that much room - we did it twice.

“I emphasised it os much to the players that it wasn’t just a chance to get into a semi-final, it was a chance to get into a final when you look at the teams who were already out of it,” added Ferguson.