Ballinamallard in first home win of season against Ards

Mallards Ryan Morris
Mallards Ryan Morris

Ballinamallard boss Gavin Dykes heaped praise on his players following Friday night’s victory over second-placed Ards.

First half goals by skipper James McKenna and substitute Ryan Morris secured the Mallards a first home win of the season and a second on the bounce following last Saturday’s victory at Glenavon.

The win lifts the Ducks up to ninth and above Glentoran.

A delighted Dykes insisted it was his side’s best performance of the season thus far.

“Tonight the players put in a shift, they also put in a shift last week,” said the Sligo man.

“I keep telling the players if they work hard and keep at it they’ll get results. It was an important three points to win at home. I’m delighted for the people who came because they haven’t had a lot to cheer about so far. We scored two really good goals.”

The Mallards sprinted out of the blocks to take a second minute lead.

Following an Ards corner, Shane McCabe released Ryan Mayse on the right and the little attacker picked out the galloping McKenna, who controlled before steering past Aaron Hogg.

Despite the early setback, Ards shaded the verdict in terms of possession but after Guillaume Keke had a shot deflected wide and Micheal Ruddy had an effort chalked off for offside, the home side doubled their advantage.

On 35 minutes, Ryan Morris, a 17th minute replacement for the injured Steve Feeney, chested down a headed clearance and from all of 25 yards volleyed into the roof of Hogg’s net.

But two minutes later Ards were back in business when Joe McKinney scampered through on the right to fire across Stefan McCusker and inside the far post.

Both sides threatened early in the second half with Mayse fizzing inches wide before Mallards keeper Stefan McCusker denied Keke at the other end.

McCusker’s opposite number Hogg then gathered a daisy-cutter from Lafferty before Mayse blazed over after being released by Adam Lecky.

Ards pressed late on but much to the disappointment of their manager Niall Currie couldn’t find an equaliser.

“I thought the minimum we deserved tonight was a point,” he said.

“We started poorly and gave away two shocking goals and you can’t do that in the Premier League.

“But we showed good character, we had good spells and had good chances in the game.

“In fairness Ballinamallard defended better than us.”

Ballinamallard United: McCusker; McMenamin; Taheny; Feeney (Morris 17); McConnell; McCartney; McKenna; McCabe; Mayse (Armstrong 90); Lafferty; Lecky.

Subs not used: Crawford; McGinty;McIlwaine.

Ards: Hogg; Hall; Friars; McMullan; Ruddy (Rae 90); Cherry (Arthurs 6); McCullough; McKinney; Douglas (Hughes 46); McComb; Keke.

Subs not used: McAuley; Byers.

Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)