Own goal has Ballymena United’s David Jeffrey counting the big price paid for small margins

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey. Pic by INPHO.
Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey. Pic by INPHO.

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey was left to reflect on the big price to pay off football’s small margins in the aftermath of defeat to Glenavon.

The final whistle signalled a 3-1 success for the Lurgan Blues as Glenavon turned the tables on Cathair Friel’s early finish thanks to Rhys Marshall, a Steven McCullough own goal and Jordan Jenkins.

Although highlighting the free-flowing nature of the Mourneview Park meeting, Jeffrey could not ignore the impact of McCullough’s slice of misfortune just before the hour mark.

“If we don’t make that mistake it ends up as a draw,” said Jeffrey. “Ross Glendinning was clearly behind the ball and called it but Steven McCullough thought he would deal with it and the ball ends up in the back of the net.

“In football you’ve got to take a step back and think - Glenavon this time last week felt they should have had at least a draw or win so today they got that piece of fortune we all require.

“I was very pleased with our first-half performance and our goal was exceptional.

“Credit to Glenavon, we went at each other like heavyweight boxers and they came back into it with a fantastic goal.

“I thought the second half was very even but then we concede off a horrible mistake.

“After that we pushed and pressed so were vulnerable on the counter-attack and the third goal came right at the death.

“Jonny Tuffey didn’t have an awful lot to do in the second half although we had a fair amount of possession and, if being really honest, Glenavon probably created more chances on the counter.”

Jeffrey had special praise for the supporters and a squad depleted and disrupted by injury issues.

“It was particularly difficult in terms of the conditions but it wasn’t about our intensity of play but about the final third and that final pass or shot, that little bit of creativity,” said Jeffrey. “There was no doubt about the work-rate, effort, attitude or commitment - those are all essential ingredients but you also need that little bit of talent to open a team up.

“I’ve never used injuries as an excuse but the simple fact is that on Friday at 3 o’clock we had 13 players confirmed fit and available.

“We had doubts over Andy McGrory, Jude Winchester and Cathair Friel and Cathair probably should never have played.

“We had to promote a few younger boys, like Kenneth Kane and Ethan Warnock, plus Leo Brown was with us.

“Last year was an amazing year and we’ve started this season tremendously well with what we’ve done in Europe.

“But at this moment in time player unavailability hasn’t helped so we are quite a bit off the mark compared to past performance levels.

“We are sticking in and need to get through this period, so it was especially pleasing to see the applause and understanding from our supporters.”