COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree believes Gareth McConaghie’s early red had a massive say on proceedings as Ballymena United won 4-0 at The Showgrounds…
The defender was dismissed for a last man tackle on 19 minutes and United took full advantage as they held a two-goal lead at the break via Andy McGrory and Adam Lecky.
The Sky Blues clinched all three points in the second-half as McGrory completed a hat-trick to register a first win on the Ballycastle Road since April 2015.
“It is a tough one to take but the sending off killed us,” he said.
“We started the game well and I thought we were the better side but then the game turned a little bit for five minutes.
“The ball over the top caught Gareth out and the sending off is tough. You could see him making the tackle from the sideline and you knew he was going to get there.
“It is strange how the rule is now because you would have preferred the tackle to have been a yard inside the box and it would have been a penalty and it would have been a yellow card and he would have stayed on the pitch
“It was an uphill battle from that point on.”
McAree was left frustrated with the officials’ decision to award Lecky’s second goal as no player appealed for a goal.
“I have had a look at the second goal and it is very hard to see where the ball is but when you look at Chris Johns’ starting position, his feet and the save it is hard to tell whether the ball was over the line,” he added.
“Chris pushes the ball sideways and there is not a person in the ground appealing for a goal.
“Not one Ballymena player or their bench appealed and nobody even anticipates what the linesman is going to give yet we find ourselves two goals down.
“It is tough at that point and we tried to address things at half time.”
The Bannsiders boss admits he is ‘gutted’ for everyone connected to the club but has urged the players to move on as quickly as possible.
“It might seem strange because we got beaten 4-0 at home to Ballymena and I am gutted for the supporters, the club and the players but I thought second half we eventually done okay,” he concluded.
“We caused a few problems going forward and ultimately I thought the third goal was offside and the fourth was very poor to concede.
“All in all it definitely was not good enough but the game hinges massively on the red card and if we went one down with eleven men on the pitch we might have had an opportunity.
“You get caught up arguing and putting your point across to referees but at the end of the day you are wasting your time because when the decision is made that is it.
“We had to make a few changes in the full back areas and within the space of 20 minutes we had to make a change at left back.
“It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong and Ballymena took full advantage of that.
“There are positives when you look at it, there always are and I have asked the players to put that one in the bin and move on as quickly as possible.
“We go away and look at how we can do things better and address that.
“We have big games coming up so it is important that we move on as quickly as possible and try to regroup.”