Semi-final was lost in first half, admits Ferguson

Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson during Saturday evening's Irish Cup Semi Final against Portadown at the Oval. Picture: Press Eye.
Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson during Saturday evening's Irish Cup Semi Final against Portadown at the Oval. Picture: Press Eye.

Glenn Ferguson defended his team selection and tactics after Ballymena United’s 3-1 Irish Cup semi-final defeat by Portadown.

“Certain players on the day didn’t do their basic principles, the jobs they were meant to do - track runners, win tackles, clear the ball,” said Ferguson after the Oval loss.

“People might talk about shapes, formations, whatever.

“Portadown played the exact same shape as us in the first half and they just wanted it more - Michael Gault was flying into tackles, Tim Mouncey was winning headers.

“We passed the ball well enough at times and had a couple of half-chances but it was the basic stuff that cost us the game and that is what really disappoints me.

“I don’t know whether they thought it was just going to happen because we’ve had a bit of luck on the run or that they would just leave it up to Cush to score another wonder goal. You have to do it collectively and there were some of our players let us down.

“I will take the blame and I will be responsible if I put a team out that I feel the shape is wrong or the personnel is wrong, to do the job.

“Outside of Tim Allen, who would have played if he hadn’t been ill, that team was basically picked about two weeks ago. I thought that was the strongest possible team we could have put out to play Portadown.

“It’s nothing to do with the shape they had or what way they played, it was just pure bad management of the game by some of our players.

“It’s easy to paper over the cracks in the second half and say we played a lot better but Portadown had the game won - they didn’t have to go chasing it. The game wasn’t open, they sat in and invited us on.

“The one that hit the post, if that had gone in earlier, then we had Boycie’s goal and then we have a stonewall penalty that we didn’t get.

“The game was lost in the first half and we have to take responsibility for that,” added Ferguson.