By Neil McKnight
at Dixon Park
Ballymoney boss Paul Gaston was left seeing red after four of his players were sent off on Saturday.
Gaston hit out at the hotly disputed decisions which saw United reduced to seven men in a 2-1 away defeat against Ballyclare Comrades.
The Toon got off to a bright start but were dealt a blow when keeper Bryan Moore was red-carded for handling outside the area.
Ballymoney conceded a goal from the resulting free-kick and then it went from bad to worse when defender Chris Getty was dismissed for a second yellow.
In the second half Money somehow managed to draw level before quickly going behind again.
They then suffered the loss of Gavin Gilmour (second booking) and Gerald Gillan for a straight red.
A stunned Gaston was critical of the referee’s handling of the game in which he stuck to the letter of the law.
He said: “The referee will no doubt feel he acted properly, but I think he spoiled the game.
“Four red cards (that) were never red cards in my opinion.
“I honestly feel, there was not a malicious tackle in the whole ninety mintues.
“The first red and then a second red just spoiled the game.
“I’ve never seen the like of it in my life.”
“We were standing there with nine men even in the first half.
“I mean we were not a dirty team.”
Gaston praised the efforts his team, who with seven men could have snatched an unlikely equaliser late on in the game.
He said: “It was unbelievable, you’ve got to give them credit.
“With seven men we were still the better team.
“That’s unbelievable against a team that’s near the top of the league.
“At nine men we came back at 1-1. They weren’t hurting us.
“I do not think they had a clue what they were doing because it’s hard when you’re playing with 11 men.
“I can understand it, ‘It’s like we are only playing against nine here’, and then it went to eight.
“I just think they thought it would be easy and we’d a couple of great chances at the end to make it two each and we’d no goalkeeper.
“Fair play then to the boys, they stuck at it and I think to be honest you would not have noticed all those players were missing.
“We did not have a keeper, the second they got deflected in.
“If it had gone the other way and maybe if we had a keeper in he would have saved it and maybe the first he would have got the wall better.
“They got beat 2-1 against a team that’s near the top of the league but they weren’t any better than us, and with seven men it’s incredible.”
The dismissals mean Gaston faces a selection crisis for this Saturday’s league match at home against Wakehurst.
Ballymoney also have a number of key players out through injury, including Paul Keane, Willie Wilkinson, Francis McKenna, Lee McClelland, Hugh og Boyle and Kyle Buckley who got injured on Saturday.
Gaston said: “Four automatic suspensions plus seven players injured that’s eleven players out.
“We are going to have to go to the Youth Academy to get players.
“We’ll maybe have to call up 17-year-olds next week.
“That’s what we will to do but it will be good experience for them, so it will be an interesting line-up next week.
“But you have to give the boys credit - they battled hard and never stopped running and they created chances with seven men.
“Next week will be interesting, I’m looking forward to it.”