Glebe Rangers made the short journey to Seahaven on Saturday to take on Gary Taylor’s Portstewart in the league.
With every point vital for survival in Championship 2, Manager Jason Wilmont was hoping for a convincing performance from his side.
After an early pitch inspection, the game was given the go ahead by the referee. However, after several heavy deluges between the inspection and kick-off many who saw the condition of the pitch cast doubts on whether it should have gone ahead.
Glebe Rangers started the better of the two sides and bossed the first half. They had numerous opportunities to go in front with the final touch letting them down time after time.
Ian Christie finally broke the deadlock and gave the Ballymoney men the deserved lead as they went into half time 1-0 up.
It was a very different story in the second half though. The Glebe side who bossed the first half appeared to have stayed in the changing rooms and a very different team emerged.
After 10 minutes of the second period, Glebe had what appeared to by a clear cut penalty denied and from that point on they seem to lose heart and after what can only be descibed as a comedy of errors in the goal mouth, Portstewart equalised. The home side then went in front after the Glebe defence were nothing short of shambolic and the final nail in Glebe’s coffin came as Taylor’s men controlled the second half to win 3-1.
To say Manager Jason Wilmont was disappointed and frustrated by this loss would be an understatement and he is under no illusions as to the pressure Glebe are now under to get points in the bag in their bid to survive in this league.
“I wasn’t happy at all. It’s the same old thing, we aren’t clinical in front of goal and it’s really hurting us at the moment. We have players who can be really clinical and that’s what is hard to take.
“It was a role reversal from last week. Against Wakehurst we were really crap in the first half and very good in the second half.
“On Saturday we had played probably the best we had in a long, long time in the first half.
“In the second half Ricky Nicholl missed a chance to make it 2-0 plus the time that Johnny Spence was straight through, it was a straight red card, the player should have been sent off and we didn’t even get a free kick.
“That was the turning point of the game without a doubt because two minutes later they scored the equaliser.
“It was very, very disappointing. The second half they were a different team. Portstewart did what we didn’t do, they bombarded our box with the wind.
“We were so in control of that game for 45 minutes and then we just let it slip out of our hands. I’ve always said to them 1-0 isn’t enough, you always need to score the second goal to take the game into control and we didn’t do it.
“It was our own fault we lost that game. I thought Danny Brown was outstanding throughout but in the second half every man let themselves down.
“Their third goal was a breakaway goal but the first two was nothing short of shambles.
“We must stand up and deal with that and fair to the boys we had been up to Saturday. In the second half we didn’t do it at all and we paid the price for it.
“Fair play to Portstewart they have taken six points off us this year.
“I thought for the first five minutes of the second half we played ok but after that decision I thought Portstewart seemed to get a big lift from that and they had their tails up.
“I still struggle to make sense of it. I have never seen a more comfortable game in the first half, it was so easy but we aren’t clinical. We could and should have been at least three goals up at half time and that would have been no disrespect to Portstewart.”
Conditions at Seahaven were some of the poorest seen this season making it difficult for both sets of players.
“It’s not sour grapes from my point of view but that game should never have been played on that pitch.
“I’ve never seen conditions like that in my life. It must have been horrible for the players to play in conditions like that.
“At the end of the match it was impossible to see the white lines on the pitch. It was bad even before a ball was kicked. There was surface water lying on the pitch and the rules of the game state that if there is surface water you can’t play the game. I have no idea why the referee decided to go ahead with it.”
This week Glebe entertain Coagh at the Riada Stadium on Friday night and with the visitors sitting one place from the bottom and also fighting for survival, it won’t be any easy task.
“It’s just so disaapointing, a win on Saturday could have made us a big statement in that league.
“I have never liked to put pressure on the boys but after Saturday’s game I just said Friday night against Coagh is a must win game. If we don’t win this game then you may as well forget about this league.
“This is the first time I have put pressure on them and it has come from themselves and that second half performance against Portstewart. If we had picked up the three points on Saturday we would have been ticking along nicely but now we are back in the mix of the danger zone.
“I believe the lads will bounce back from Saturday’s defeat. Whenever I played and you got a bad result you wanted to get back out the following week and put it right on the pitch.
“It’s up to the boys, Friday is a must win game, pure and simple. We have to win the game and that’s all there is. It’s down to them to come out and play the way I know they can. They are better than Satutday’s result and they need to show that on Friday night.
“We will go into training this week and work hard. I will probably only bring them in on Tuesday night with the game being on Friday night.
“We will give it everything we have. I know I’m not going to throw the towel in and I know the boys aren’t going to throw the towel in.
“They need to go out on Friday night and play the full 90 minutes the way they played the first half against Portstewart. If they do that they will get the points.”
Glebe Rangers v Coagh United @ Riada Stadium. Kick off 7.45pm