Oran Kearney praised his players for the response they showed after having two players sent off against Ballymena United on Friday night.
The Bannsiders had to play out the last 21 minutes with only nine men after both Sammy Morrow and Mark Edgarsaw red at Warden Street.
Kearney’s men dug in and produced a solid rearguard action to see out the game quite comfortably in the end.
“It looked as though we would see the game out quite comfortably,” Kearney told Times Sport.
“Unfortunately the two red cards turned it into a bit of a mad finish.
“I think Sammy’s tackle happening in front of their bench didn’t help him.
“I spoke with referee Keith Kennedy after the game and really I couldn’t argue with what he said.
“He reminded me of his decision when we played Crusaders earlier this season and he sent Jordan Forsythe off for a similar challenge.
“He told some refs may judge those tackles as a yellow card, but he sees it as a red as they are dangerous.
“As I say I can’t really arguse with that as he is consistent with his decision making.
“I was more upset with Mark’s sending off.
“I felt he was really unlucky to pick up a yellow card in the first half, if anything I thought it should have been a free kick for us.
“The second yellow is soft, but again I have saw other referees give them. It left us under the cosh a bit, but the two-goal cushion did help us.
“What pleased me the most is though our guys stood up and were counted.
“I let them know their first half performance wasn’t good enough.
“I told them they didn’t perform how I would expect them to, or how the fans would expect them to in a derby match when there is so much at stake.
“They were excellent in the second half which pleased me so much.”