Vs Ballymena Utd (6th April, Home, League)
Ballinamallard IIIs picked up another three points on Saturday to stay top of the Irish Youth League table.
They defeated fourth place Ballymena by four goals to two in an entrtaining game which saw them lose a two goal lead.
However, the Ferney Park side bounced back in the second half to add two more to their tally and secure the points.
It was good preparation for the Mallards on a lively surface before their Irish Youth Cup final against Linfield on Friday evening.
After 20 minutes Michael Simpson set Josh McIlwaine on his way to beat the defender and finish with his left foot from a narrow angle.
Then keeper Karl Fallis had to make an excellent blocking save when Ballymana opened the home defence on the left side to get a shot on goal from the corner of the six yard box.
But on the hour Ballinamallard increased their lead.
A loose ball dropped to Simpson who struck it first time to give the visiting keeper no chance.
But five minutes before the break Ballinamallard made two terrible defensive errors.
On 41 minutes a cross from the left saw a slight defelection and keeper Karl Fallis failed to gather before a Ballymena striker nodded in at the back post.
Then two minutes later Ballymena were back on level terms. A long ball over the home defence found a Ballymena striker suspiciously off side. He beat the central defenders and as Fallis raced off his line, he lobbed into the open net.
In the second half Ballinamallard improved their game, bossing the central midfield area and keeping things much tigher at the back.
Then on 58 minutes a Jake Smith corner, drilled to the back post was perfectly met by central defender Lee McNulty to head across goal and into the net.
In the closing minutes Ballinamallard added their fourth when Adam Wallace rose superbly to head on a Fallis kick.
The ball fell to McIlwaine who got to the byline before pulling a great ball back for the perfect run of Jake Smith to side-foot home from 10 yards.
Manager Ray Sanderson felt his players did enough to take the points.
“We really were the better side for most of the game apart from those five minutes before the break.
“Defensively we needed to deal with those situations in a better way. But we showed in the second half that when we play, even on a lively surface, we can cause lots of problems for the opposition.”