David Jeffrey calm as Ballymena United go top of league table

Newry and Ballymena players get a bit heated after a challenge
Newry and Ballymena players get a bit heated after a challenge

Ballymena United Manager David Jeffrey said his side will enjoy being top of the Danske Bank Premiership table only briefly after the Sky Blues saw off ten-man Newry City away from home on Friday night.

First half goals from Adam Lecky and Andy McGrory, which both came against the run of play, out the Braidmen in the box seat at the break before City keeper Andy Coleman was shown a straight red card for clashing with Cathair Friel on the hour.

However, Darren Mullen’s hosts pulled one back soon after through Dale Montgomery but they couldn’t find the equaliser as Jeffrey’s side took their place at the summit.

“For us, it was a dogged performance and it would be fair to say we ground this one out,” admitted Jeffrey.

“It’s lovely to be where we are. We’re enjoying the praise and we’re enjoying the credit which goes along with it. But I’m not being coy. When I was at Linfield, there was only one time when I said, ‘yes, we can win the league the following week’. It was actually because it was mathematically impossible to catch us!

“For us to be where we’ve got at this stage of the season is great. There’s a long way to go and there’s a lot of games. There are no easy games. Alongside the football and the desire, you need that wee bit of fortune also. We’ll enjoy the fact that we’re top of the league tonight and that’s it!

“I said to the players afterwards that I know we didn’t perform as well as we have done,but there are other qualities you need to win games and that’s resilience, resolve, sustainability, hunger and desire and everybody stood up manfully.”