Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson was left frustrated on a number of fronts after a pulsating encounter at the Showgrounds which produced more excitement than the scoreline suggests.
The Glens spent long periods of the second half encamped in Ballymena territory, with the home side hampered by an injury to hero keeper Dwayne Nelson which severely restricted his mobility and the dismissal of David Cushley for two bookings.
“It was a difficult game on a difficult surface and two points dropped as far as I’m concerned,” sad Patterson.
“It’s a game we totally dominated, we had the lion’s share of possession and we were the only team going for it – Ballymena were just sitting back and hoping to hit us on the break.
“We didn’t test Dwayne Nelson as much as we would have liked - we hit the ball straight at him on three or four occasions and he made a great save from Andy Waterworth.
“We’re sitting in fourth place at the minute but we want to see if we can eat away at Linfield’s lead and get into third.
“It’s a big ask but this game was an opportunity to do that so it’s disappointing,” added Patterson, who was left fuming by referee Colin Burns’ decision not to point to the spot for what the Oval supremo felt were “two stonewall penalty kicks”.
“The linesman in front of us saw exactly what we saw, Stephen McAlorum and Colin Nixon getting hauled to the ground, but he refused to put his flag up. The officials saw what was going on and nothing was given.”
Referee Burns and his officials were also in the cross-hair of Patterson’s opposite number Glenn Ferguson after a late incident in which both Burns and his assistant failed to spot Jason Hill’s blatant shirt-pull on the clear-breaking Peter Duffin.
It prompted an on-pitch showdown between Ferguson and the Newtownabbey official, after which the Ballymena boss stormed: “I have constantly said that referees coming through are arrogant and how they talk down to players and managers.
“I don’t know if it’s a directive that they’re being taught from the highest refereeing chain but there’s a way to talk to players and to explain things.
“It’s easy for officials to make easy decisions but if there’s one which is maybe going to make a difference in the game right at the death, they can’t be scared to give it.”
Ferguson took more comfort from his side’s battling performance, adding: “For Dwayne to get injured with half an hour left and to lose David Cushley with 15 minutes to go against a team like Glentoran, I thought the boys showed great commitment and desire to stick their head, their foot or whatever in to stop them from scoring.”