Jeffrey frustrated as Sky Blues stage fightback

FINISH: Ballymena's David Cushley wheel away to celebrate
FINISH: Ballymena's David Cushley wheel away to celebrate

DAVID Jeffrey cut a frustrated figure as Ballymena United gave Linfield’s fading defence of their Danske Bank Premiership crown another kick in the teeth.

Despite taking a two-goal lead thanks to two of the league’s most in-form players in Matthew Tipton and Brian McCaul, Jeffrey’s men were pegged back by David Cushley’s double strike to leave the Blues floundering a massive 15 points behind runaway leaders Cliftonville.

While not quite unfurling the white flag of surrender, Jeffrey is all too aware of the unlikelihood of a collapse by the Reds and admits his side has a big task to overhaul Crusaders for the silver medal position.

“We just want to accumulate as many points as possible,” said a frustrated Jeffrey.

“We had got ourselves to within four points of Crusaders but they have stretched that by a further two points.

“The reality is it’s a long way back because we’re chasing a Cliftonville side who have played tremendously well this year and who have shown great consistency.

“Our recent form has been decent but this was one of those days where we should have managed the game out better.

“It was the proverbial game of two halves. We came in ahead at the break but it should have been three or possibly four up.

“In the second half you always know your opponents are going to get back into it at some stage but to concede the way we did was frustrating and disappointing.

“The second goal was an individual error but I don’t go in for individual criticism – as a side, we should have managed the outcome much better but we didn’t do so.”

United boss Glenn Ferguson was pleased with another point as the Sky Blues continue to show signs of improvement after their mini meltdown around the turn of the year.

“We possibly could have won it but before the game we would have taken a point, especially being 2-0 down at one stage,” said Ferguson, who hailed the contribution of the mercurial Cushley.

“I’ve known David for about four years and you know that you’ll get frustration, brilliance, bookings, goals – you have to take a chance on a player like him because on his day, he can be a matchwinner.

“In the first half we didn’t play very well but we were still in the game and had a couple of chances ourselves.

“But the second half was completely different.

“We bossed the first 20 minutes and they scored their second against the run of play.

“We regrouped, made a couple of changes and went at them again.

“We took off a defensive midfielder, put on a couple of attack-minded players and had a go at them and it paid off.

“It was good to come here and get something from the game and I am pleased with the effort the boys put in.

“Windsor is always a hard place to and get all three points,” added Ferguson.