Carrick Rangers 0-1 Ballymena United: Jim Ervin delighted to secure first win as manager

Ballymena United boss Jim Ervin said he was delighted that his side got the "monkey off our back" as they secured their first win of the season against Carrick Rangers.

A narrow 1-0 victory at Taylors Avenue was Ervin's first as Sky Blues manager after seven consecutive defeats.

And Ervin was relieved to get the three points after a difficult start.

"You can get stuck in a rut and losing becomes a habit, but we've got the monkey off our back now," he said.

"We have had plenty of digs thrown at us, especially this week, and it is difficult when things are going against you. You can easily roll over, but we got over the line on Saturday.

"We limited Carrick to very few chances and most pleasing, we got the three points and the clean sheet. We scored at the right time and probably should have had another, we let them off the hook a bit."

Debutant Isaac Westendorf won and converted a 26th-minute penalty which was enough for Ballymena to claim all three points and secure their first away league win since November last year.

Former defender Ervin was full of praise for the on-loan Larne striker's performance, particularly in the first half.

"He was a threat all day and the first 20-25 minutes, they looked frightened of him. We said to him at half-time we wanted more, but the tiredness just killed him and he ran out of steam in the end."

Ervin continued: "He ran himself into the ground, I'm pleased for him to get the goal, it wasn't his greatest penalty, but they all count."

Whilst the Sky Blues remain bottom of the table, the result takes them one point behind Glenavon.

The win also provides the ideal response following Tuesday night's exit from the County Antrim Shield after a humbling defeat by Championship side Knockbreda.

Ervin believes that the victory was no more than the players deserved for their commitment to the cause despite the tough times of late.

"Performances have been good bar Tuesday night and it has been frustrating that we haven't managed to get anything on the board until now," he admitted.

"The boys worked their socks off and they deserve it more than anyone. We talk about staff and preparation, but when the guys take to the field, they work tirelessly in games and training to put things right.

"They stood tall today and thankfully we got the three points."