Both managers could have been forgiven for seeking solace in a darkened room after a chaotic 90 minutes at the Showgrounds.
Without a win between them in 16 league games, a draw was perhaps not a surprising outcome – but few could have predicted the extraordinary circumstances in which it came about, with Ballymena clawing back from 3-0 down to earn a draw thanks to Mark Surgenor’s injury time strike.
The relegation-threatened Whites looked to be cruising to a victory which would have lifted them off the foot of the Danske Bank Premiership table after a brace from Jordan Hughes and a Gary Liggett strike saw them go three clear with just 50 minutes on the clock.
Gavin Taggart pulled one back for Ballymena before being red-carded for kicking out at Ryan McCann and he was joined in the sin bin soon after by Distillery’s Aaron Traynor following a flare-up with Tony Kane.
David Cushley kept United in the game with a close-range volley.
And that was before Surgenor bundled home the equaliser in stoppage time to leave Whites boss Tim McCann reflecting on “the lowest point of my career”.
“You would think when you’re 3-0 up away from home you could safeguard that but it was absolutely diabolical,” fumed McCann.
“I can’t take any positives from the game because I’m so down.
“We were in total control of the game at 3-1, Ballymena were down to 10 men and there was no way they were going to come back from that.
“Aaron Traynor lost the head and cost us the game, along with a number of other people who were poor.
“It’s just sheer lack of concentration, discipline, everything,” added McCann.
United boss Glenn Ferguson also has plenty of work to do in 2013, despite his side’s last-gasp heroics halting a run of six straight league defeats.
“In the first half we didn’t turn up and we carried too many passengers.
“That game could have finished 8-6 because we had so much possession and so many balls into the box.
“To be totally honest, once we scored the first, I thought we would get something out of the game.
“They seemed to get deeper and deeper and let us get on top of them and the players who had been making runs forward weren’t getting on the ball.”