'I’m never happy when we have suffered a defeat but I can see signs that we’ll be okay' - admits Institute boss Brian Donaghey
Institute manager Brian Donaghey felt his side deserved at least a point against title chasing Ballinamallard United on Saturday.
The Drumahoe side got off to the perfect start thanks to Joel Bradley Walsh’s second minute free-kick but not for the first time this season the concession of poor goals and some bad decisions meant they slumped to their 12th league defeat of the campaign.
A frustrated Donaghey said he was pleased with a lot of things his side did throughout the 90 minutes but was obviously disappointed with another league defeat.
“There were definitely a lot of positives to be taken from the game,” stated the ’Stute boss, “(It was a) massive improvement on last week’s game against Dundela. I asked for a reaction and the boys trained well during the week. I felt we were more than a match for Ballinamallard. I don’t think there was anything in it at all during the first half, in fact we probably had more clear cut chances.
“Shaun Leppard had a couple of headers where he was probably up a little bit too early but we made their keeper work a few times and had a good free-kick from Joel Bradley Walsh.
“I felt Liam Walsh was outstanding. He worked their whole back four and that’s what he does. We missed his energy last week and certainly looked a lot better for him being on the pitch.
“Man for man, were they much better than us? Definitely not. Yet they are second and we are second bottom so there are a lot of positives to be taken from the game but it’s still a defeat.
“The manner of the goals we conceded was very, very poor. The first one, I spoke to the referee before the match about them boxing the goalkeeper in, but he does nothing about it and they have three players around John (Connolly) as the ball drops in. Can John do better? I don’t know, but it’s something they have definitely worked on. They put the ball under the bar and they attacked it for the goal.
“From open play there aren’t too many teams who can cut us open but from set-pieces we are definitely a bit vulnerable.”
The visitors were rightfully awarded a penalty on 63 minutes when BJ Banda was brought down inside the box by Shaun Doherty and the free scoring striker made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick, planting the ball low into Connolly’s right hand corner, Donaghey however felt that his goalscoring centre-back should have brought the ex-Finn Harps front man down before he even got into the box.
“I said to Joel Bradley that after tracking BJ back, if he stays on his feet another five yards then he can wrap his feet around him. He probably went at him a bit too early but, if he’s going have a nibble at him, he has to take him out, make the foul and take the consequences. I think Shaun Doc had a tangle of legs and I don’t think there was any malice on Shaun’s part,” he added.
“BJ is a cute enough lad. He’s clever enough and I feel that BJ felt Shaun’s contact and went down.
“Then Aaron McGurk was fouled three times in the one phase of play. We didn’t get the free-kick and they broke and killed eight minutes of the game as they got two corners from the incident and it took any momentum we had out of the game.
“Listen, I’m never happy when we have suffered a defeat but I can see signs that we’ll be okay. The work-rate and everything else that the boys gave today was much better than what it has been in previous weeks.”