NEITHER manager was particularly satisfied as the dust settled on a remarkable afternoon at the Warden Street Showgrounds.
Donegal Celtic boss Stephen Small was disappointed after his side spurned a three-goal lead, while his opposite number Glenn Ferguson felt the same emotion that his side hadn’t actually won the game.
Having started the day bottom-of-the-table, Celtic were in dreamland as they took a three-goal lead before the break through Mark Miskimmin, Ryan Deans and Sean Cleary.
But Allan Jenkins’ penalty in first half injury time – awarded ater Gary Thompson had been bundled over by DC keeper John Connolly - kick-started a United revival and second half goals from Johnny Taylor and Jamie Davidson completed the comeback.
“I was disappointed with the attitude in conceding three goals but, that aside, we’ve got to give a lot of credit for the response after half-time,” said United boss Ferguson.
“We were actually very, very disappointed in the end that we didn’t win the game.
“We tried to get down the sides and get balls into the box and maybe if we had an out-and-out number nine to attack some of the balls in the box we might have won the game.
“But as I always say, if you can’t win the game, don’t lose it and we were able to come back and get a point.
“I suppose we have to take encouragement from the way we showed character and resilience and came back to earn a point.
“It seemed a long way back from 3-0 but we grafted and put the work in and managed to get back level.
“It is just a pity we couldn’t have completed the turnaround by getting the win.”
Visiting boss Small remained upbeat after the point lifted his side off the foot of the table above Lisburn Distillery on goal difference.
“It’s disappointing to lose a three-goal lead, there’s no getting away from that, but I would struggle to analyse the game and see where we could have done anything differently.
“I prefer to look at the positives in that we scored three very good goals away from home.
“Ballymena had fought tooth and nail to get back into the game and we struggled to contain their momenum.
“When the ball is continually coming into your box, it’s difficult to stand up to that sort of pressure.
“It’s a difficult league but we have some really good qualities about us – maybe we caught Ballymena a wee bit complacent about our attributes,” added Small.
“But we can take positives and negatives from the game and we will learn from them. It is all about picking up points in this league and we managed to get one today.
“Maybe it should have been better given the start we had, but we move onto the next game now and that is Crusders away – another tough game.”