Harbinson ‘embarrassed’ after Comrades sink to defeat at home to Queen’s

Ballyclare Comrades recorded a third-straight league defeat against basement side Queen’s University on Saturday to slip to seventh in the Lough 41 NIFL Championship standings.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 3:37 pm

The Students might still be bottom of the table, but they made the most of Ballyclare Comrades’ recent loss of form by recording a 2-0 victory at Dixon Park.

Matthew McManus edged the south Belfast side in front early in the second half before Chris Middleton knocked home a second later in the half.

The loss for Paul Harbinson’s side comes on the back of league defeats to Knockbreda and Loughgall and a scoreless draw with Insitute.

Paul Harbinson. (Pic: Ballyclare Comrades Media team).

Speaking to the Ballyclare Comrades media team after Saturday’s defeat, a sombre Harbinson said: “I’m angry today. We didn’t have any urgency about us and we lacked ideas. Queen’s came and you could see they had a game plan, they sat in really, really deep.

“They slowed the game down, as a lot of clubs have done against us in the last couple of weeks and have learned that frustrates us. Today the biggest disappointment was our lack of answers. We watched the game by-pass us and I didn’t feel we had enough fight in us to compete and to drive the game the way we needed to. A really disappointing performance.”

Harbinson added: “We looked like we didn’t have a desire to go and take the game and do something with it. We missed a couple of chances, and as much as you might argue that they were clear-cut chances, did we open them up a regular basis? No, we didn’t. We’ve a lot to think about and a lot to talk about.

“Queen’s deserved to win today. We were horrendous and they deserved it, so fair play to them.”

Commenting on the recent lack of form, Harbinson explained: “It’s now one point from 12. Even the Crusaders game, which everyone has talked about (ToalsBet.Com Co Antrim Shield quarter-final), technically we were 2-0 up and we drew the game, we threw away a lead. We haven’t done overly well enough for the last four weeks.

“Definitely feeling pressure as to how we change that. We’re lost for answers. Straight away, as soon as we come off the pitch today, I’m thinking about training on Tuesday night, how we do the simple basic things well, because we haven’t done those well at all today.

“We need to focus on what we’re doing. If we’re gathering three points today, it doesn’t matter what everyone else does. We have proven in the last couple of months that we can be a really good football team- you don’t just forget how to do that overnight. We’re just struggling to do that at the minute.

“We’ll go back and we’ll look at what we have been good at and readdress and see if we can get back to those things.”

Detailing the mood in the dressing room, the former Bangor and Harland and Wolff Welders player stated: “Players have been really frustrated. In this last couple of weeks we’ve been challenging consistently that the performances haven’t been good. All of the players, I can 100 per cent assure all the fans, we’re going in every week and we’re looking for answers. We’re just in a rut, unfortunately, and we’ve hit a bad patch and of course every week we are saying we need to get out of it and we’ve now got a massive trek to Ballinamallard next week to try and pull ourselves out of that.

“In training this week we’ll look at the things Ballinmallard do well and we’ll recall the things we did well against them earlier in the year and we’ll try to get back to those basics.

“I wholeheartedly say this as a member of our coaching staff, I’m embarrassed today with how we let that game pan out and how we let it go and the players are well aware of how I feel.”

Next up for Ballyclare is a 186-mile round trip to Fermanagh to take on fifth-placed Ballinamallard on November 20.

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