United win ‘great advert for Irish League football - Ferguson

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson during Friday's game at Shamrock Park, Portadown.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson during Friday's game at Shamrock Park, Portadown. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson hailed his side’s 4-3 New Year’s Day win at Portadown as “a great advert for Irish League football”.

The Sky Blues boss was full of praise for his players’ performance in difficult conditions at Shamrock Park.

“You get great value for money when you watch Ballymena against Portadown,” said Ferguson, a reference to previous high-scoring games between the sides over the past few seasons.

“It was a great advert for Irish League football when you consider the conditions - the rain, the pitch and both sets of players deserve a lot of credit for what they put on show.

“Both sets of players tried to play football when they could but we also played the percentage ball when we had to.

“There was never any more than one goal in it, it was end to end stuff and it was great to get the last goal with just a few minutes to go.

“We were down here two years ago and played a match when the pitch was far worse than that, so credit to the referee for making a brave decision and putting the match on.

“Walking across the pitch at half-time and full-time, it had cut up badly but all the players kept going and there’ll be some sore limbs tonight.

“The first goal, Allan Jenkins might say differently but it’s just a pity that Cush’s shot didn’t go in because it was a fantastic strike coming across his body.

“The second was a great one-two finished off by Stephen McBride. I thought, his goal aside, he was absolutely superb. He defended well, he joined in the play well and he got forward. I thought he played really well and the goal capped it off for him.

“The third one was great set up play for David Cushley to drive in and the fourth was a good interchange of play, a good lay-off and a good finish from Allan Jenkins.

“Portadown have quality players all over their team so you’re going to be under pressure at some stage and concede goals - it’s whether you can put them in at the other end which we were able to do today.

“We’ve proved we can score goals - keeping them out at the other end is a bit harder but the important thing is we keep responding,” added Ferguson.