IRISH LEAGUE REACTION: David Jeffrey proud of players inspite of Ballymena loss to Crusaders

Ballymena suffered a 2-1 loss to Crusaders in spite of taking a 1-0 lead against Danske Bank title chasing Crusaders

The Sky Blues had threatedn to end Cursaders 14-match unbeaten run after Ballymena striker Shevlin ran on to Jonny McMurray’s nicely-weighted through ball to give the visitors a 17th-minute lead at Seaview.

But skipper Coates headed the equaliser before half-time and Whyte netted a 60th-minute penalty after a foul on Paul Heatley.

“I felt the player went down very easily from my angle, if the referee has got it right then congratulations.

“I would still like another look at the penalty kick.

“But the over-riding emotion is one of pride in my players.

“This is coming up against a Crusaders team who went to Glenavon and scored four.

“They have been absolutely flying of late and an excellent side.

“We knew we had to stand up and be counted and every one of my players did just that.

“We played some good stuff and Sean O’Neill had to make a couple of great saves.

“On another evening we come away with something.

“I am very pleased with the performance and quality and really felt we should have had a point.

“We looked very sharp and incisive, with a real appetite for the game.

“Credit must go to the players off the back of an indifferent start to the season because of a crippling injury list.

“Although we had our only 16 fit players here.

“We have two or three in the dressing room now with knocks so I don’t want to start thinking about our situation going into Boxing Day.

“We will just see how they are come Monday but I’ve always enjoyed the Boxing Day experience in my career.

“That is the nature of it at the moment but those who went out and performed played some super stuff.

“To be fair to Crusaders, these are the tight games in which you need to stick at it if you have aspirations to win leagues.”