Moneyslane boss David Johnstone says his side’s display in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Cookstown Celtic in the Marshall Cup was one of the worst during his time in charge.
“I can only apologise to the committee and supporters,” he said. “I take responsibility as it is my job to motivate the players and send the team out to win football matches but I failed.
“We looked disjointed, lethargic and devoid of ideas going forward. We were actually out fought and out played by a team we should be beating comfortably and I put it mainly down to attitude.
“No one can tell me this group are not good enough. We had a strong finish last season and have beaten Valley Rangers and Craigavon City away this season picking up 9 points out of a possible 12 points in the league.
“But we are inconsistent and that comes from a lack of desire and from too many players approaching these so called lesser games with the wrong attitude. This must change and quickly.”
Going into the game, Peden remained injured with Blevins and Steen unavailable. Johnstone gave a starting opportunity to young keeper Josh McCullough as well as Mark Jardine and Jason Fairley.
Slane should have taken the lead in the opening seconds when Harrison broke through, rounded the keeper but his weak finish allowed the defender to clear off the line. Cookstown were competing well and they caused problems up top.
It was the away team who took the lead when a ball that was sailing harmlessly for a goal kick was inexplicably headed back into the box by a Slane defender and the Cookstown striker volleyed home. Slane equalised from the penalty spot when a good break from a corner saw the defender handle the ball near the line and Ervine smashed home.
However, Cookstown regained the lead soon after when after numerous passes a great shot form 20 yards found the top corner.
Despite a bright first five minutes Moneyslane failed to get to grips with the game and as the half wore on frustration set in. Time and time again the ball was lost in the final third, the midfield was out fought and the defence never seemed comfortable.
Fairley came off injured being replaced by Gibson. Ferguson came on for the tiring Bingham. In the last throw of the dice Jardine came off for Jordan Fairley. Bingham hit a free kick into the wall, Harrison just failed to connect from a cross/shot while the visitors had some chances on the break. In injury time Gibson had a header 10 yards out but the ball dropped agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Team: McCullough, Weir, Boyd, Quinn, Shilliday, Fairley, Harrison, Bingham, Quilty, Whitten, Ervine. Subs: Brown, Gibson, Fairley, Ferguson, Boyd.