Darren Murphy hailed Ballymena United captain Allan Jenkins’ performance as the main reason for his Dungannon Swifts side’s 100 per cent start to the league campaign coming to an end.
The Sky Blues’ Scottish skipper capped a dominant display with the opening goal as Ballymena ended a staggering run of 11 successive home games against the Tyrone side without a home win, dating back to 2007.
Darren Boyce’s second half free kick levelled matters but only for 60 seconds before Shane Dolan fired what proved to be the winner, while United’s Alan Davidson also crashed a penalty kick against the crossbar.
“Ballymena deservedly won the game because they did the parts of the game that you need to do well to win Irish League matches - they worked harder than us, they were more determined and they had a bigger desire,” said Murphy.
“This league is about hard work and the one thing I would say about Ballymena is that Allan Jenkins epitomised everything that was good about them.
“He won countless headers, he won tackles, he chased lost causes and other players feed off that. At times we just couldn’t cope with that.
“He was the biggest danger from set pieces and we allowed him the freedom of Warden Street for the first goal.
“You try to prepare well, you tell players who they are to mark and then 15 minutes into the game, from the first corner, free header, you think ‘what’s the point?’.
“For the second goal the ball bounced about our box like a ping-pong ball and no-one was brave enough to put their foot through it. Everybody waited for everybody else.
“The oldest rule in football is when you’ve scored, re-group and tune in. We gave away a corner it was knocked back into the box and we were 2-1 down.
“In our first two games we outfought our opponents - today we played well but we didn’t outfight Ballymena or out-work them.
“Players maybe start to think that because they have two wins from two that they’ve reached the dizzy heights and they won’t do what got them there in the first place.”
For United boss Glenn Ferguson it was another important step in his side’s recovery which has now seen them take six points out of six since the opening day debacle against Glenavon.
“I think we deserved to win - we created more chances missed a penalty and hit the bar.
“These games are difficult because there are a lot of sides in this league who are much of a muchness so it’s important to put in good performances and pick up points in those matches.”