Ballyclare’s assistant-manager Gary Bell was left to ponder what might have been after Monday’s 2-0 League Cup defeat to Glentoran.
The Reds, already trailing by a Mark Miskimmin penalty, gave themselves a mountain to climb when captain Andrew Doyle, who had committed the foul which led to the spot-kick, saw red after picking up a second yellow.
The Premiership side went on to assert their authority at Dixon Park, doubling their lead through Calum Birney. And, but for a string of saves from keeper Paddy Flood, it could have been more.
“I think if we had have kept 11 men on the pitch we may have acquitted ourselves a wee bit better,” Bell told the Times.
“The ball should have been cleared at the penalty and I think it maybe caused Andrew to drop his head. He was already booked and then he picked up a silly second (booking). He’ll have to learn from it. We all need to learn that things like that shouldn’t be happening in the game. Once that happened, the match was always going to go one way.”
He added: “I thought the boys were outstanding in terms of their effort and commitment in the second half. Maybe with 11 men we could have pushed on that little bit more.”
Flood’s strong performance and a full debut for Joel Cooper were among the positives for the Comrades on the night.
“Joel has been close to starting for the last couple of weeks and this week, whether it was the Glens or not, he was getting his full debut. He deserved his chance, and to be fair to the young cub, he was first-class.
“He didn’t look out of place and he’s definitely one for the future,” added Bell.