Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson believes his side won’t have a “better chance” to beat Linfield at Windsor Park than Saturday’s 3-2 defeat.
The Sky Blues boss insisted that his team had missed a golden opportunity not to take at least a point that would have kept them right in touch with the leading teams in the Danske Bank Premiership.
“We lost the game in the first half,” reflected a rueful Ferguson
“I spoke to the players before the game about coming to Windsor Park and not being in awe of Linfield as a football club.
“I think teams coming here now will not have a better chance with the transitional period of new players coming in and the novelty of coming and playing on a beautiful pitch. The stadium is just not as concerning for visiting teams as it was before.
“Going 1-0 up we didn’t build on it. We invited them on and conceded a goal from a sloppy corner where our goalkeeper called for it and didn’t get it.
“Their second goal was a tad lucky. It was great free kick by Niall Quinn off the post and it has hit Hegarty and gone in.
“The real sucker punch was the third goal. Aaron Burns went through unmarked - no-one ran with him.
“At 3-1 I thought we were still in the game and over the course of the 45 minutes of the second half, I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game.
“I told the players at half-time in no uncertain terms what we thought of the first half performance and we got a reaction in the second half.
“You know you’re always going to be under pressure at some stages of the game but we were trying to clear it and kicking it against people - we weren’t being controlled or showing composure on the ball and when you do that, the ball comes straight back at you.
“We can’t be sloppy from the start - you can’t just flick a switch after 15 minutes and change your performance levels, that is very hard to do.
“We had a good word with the players at half-time about desire and attitude and about not being over-awed.
SOme teams leave here with a draw or a narrow defeat and they think it’s a moral victory - I don’t want our players thinking that way.
Our stats tell us we had 13 chances in the second half and it’s not toften you come to Windsor and that happens.
We made the change bringing Tony Kane on to try to get the ball into wide areas and get it to our wide players to get balls in the box and we looked a threat when we did that.
I don’t really like singling players out but when you’ve got Johnny Taylor playing the way he is at the minute, driving people on, I think it gives the rest of the players a lift,” added Ferguson.