Shay McCartan’s Ballymena graft on top of guile attracts David Jeffrey praise

Shay McCartan’s selfless approach to life at Ballymena United was one highlight for manager David Jeffrey following stalemate at Shamrock Park.

Monday, 7th December 2020, 1:00 pm
Shay McCartan attempting to give Ballymena United the upper hand over Portadown. Pic by Pacemaker.

The September signing arrived at The Showgrounds outfit after a career spent within the environment of full-time club football in England.

The 26-year-old playmaker was unable to deliver a final flourish to separate the sides in the weekend scoreless draw but offered evidence of the close control and creative spark that should add an extra cutting edge to the Ballymena attack overall.

However, following an afternoon in which defensive resolve dominated over attacking intent, Jeffrey had praise for the Northern Ireland international beyond his flair.

“He has fitted in tremendously well, he’s no ‘Big-Time Charlie’, he works for the team and also brings that bit of skill which helps us,” said Jeffrey. “Shay is a fantastic talent and we are very pleased with the fact that our part-time status actually suited him.

“I thought in terms of chances created we should have won the game.

“I was really, really pleased with and cannot fault the effort or commitment of the players and for large parts we were the dominant force but couldn’t turn that into goals.

“So we are disappointed we didn’t take all three points but happy with everything else.

“We kept knocking and knocking on the door but Portadown defended extremely well.

“The chances for us were coming from players coming from behind, midfield players very capable of putting the ball in the back of the net.

“We had to be very wary of Portadown catching us on the break, with Lee Bonis and Adam Salley very capable.

“So we had to be mindful of that and I’m saying to my goalkeeper and three centre-backs today ‘well done’ for the clean sheet.”

Ballymena had the ball in the back of the net across the closing moments but the match officials ruled out Kofi Balmer’s effort for offside.

“I’ve spoken to Kofi and Leroy Millar and Leroy has said he was clearly offside but Kofi, who scored it, wasn’t...but things happen very, very quickly,” said Jeffrey. “If you’re taking one step back and thinking of the game of football, to have defended the way Portadown defended it maybe would have been cruel.”

Jeffrey also reflected on the absence of supporters due to restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic.

“You really do miss the supporters being in and the one blessing is so many games being streamed, so we can enjoy that,” he said. “At Ballymena we go out of our way to make sure we don’t seek to take any advantage by making it more difficult than the day should be (for our opponents) and Portadown today have been absolutely first class.

“It’s about keeping people safe and doing the right thing so I’m in full agreement.

“The fact we are still playing is the big thing.”

--

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you