Glenn Ferguson was delighted to taste derby day delight for a third time this season over old foes Coleraine.
A goal from former Bannsider Darren Boyce just two minutes into the game was enough to give the Sky Blues victory at The Showgrounds.
It made it a hat-trick of wins for United over the Bannsiders this term much to Ferguson’s delight.
“It is sweet to pick up our third win over Coleraine this season,” he said after the game.
“It is sweet for me as a manager to beat any team though as you get three points no matter who you play.
“But it’s great for the players and the fans.
“Bragging rights in local derbies are big things for the fans.
“Ballymena went through a tough time in these games when they didn’t win too many for a few years, so it’s nice to be able to turn that around and send the fans home happy tonight.
“They are still one point ahead of us in the table though and our aim now is to catch them.
“To do that we need to get more results and performances like that today.”
The visitors stood firm after Boyce’s early header and Ferguson was delighted to see his side produce a strong defensive display.
“We started well and got the goal but Coleraine came back into it and had a bit of control,” he said.
“You get periods in the game like that when you are going to be under pressure, but it’s making sure you don’t give anything away and thankfully we did that.
“I think we probably deserved it.
“Tim Allen wasn’t under too much pressure during the game, he didn’t really have too many top class saves to make.
“We kept them at bay, they had a lot of possession but without really creating anything which put us under that much pressure.
“Thankfully we got the early breakthrough and we had on. We had a couple of chances of our own, Matthew Shevlin came on and maybe could have had two himself in the last 15 minutes or so.
“Keeping a clean sheet was key to the victory. We haven’t had too many and I emphasised to the boys at half time that if we kept a clean sheet we would win.
“They defended very well in the second half and restricted Coleraine.
“The boys worked very hard on what was a desperately hard pitch to play on today.
“Both sets of players deserve credit to try and play today. There was moments when we tried to play and there was other moments when it just had to go long.”
Ferguson was relieved though to see the assistant referee raise his flag to chalk off Ian Parkhill’s goal just before the break in what looked like a very tight decision.
“The most important thing was the linesman thought it was offside,” he said.
“There was a decision before that when one of their lads went through and without exaggerating he was about six yards offside and the linesman didn’t give it.
“So if he’s got one right or one wrong he made it for it with that one.”
Oran Kearney missed the game due to work commitments, but his assistant Trevor McKendry felt the officials got the decision wrong.
“I would like to see the disallowed goal again, I don’t think he was offside, to me it looked like he ran from behind the full back,” he said.
“We were well on top and it would have been a big boost to get back on level terms before half time.”