Vs Coleraine (7th December, Away, League)

A goal in each half secured three points for second place Ballinamallard Youth in the Irish Youth League on Saturday.

The Ferney Park side showed some bright signs early on chasing down the home side and creating one or two good chances.

However, the  Coleraine side looked dangerous on the break with their quick striking pair.

Ballinamallard though worked hard all over the park and resulted in their first goal on the half hour.

A Coleraine throw in was intercepted by Paul Elliott wide on the right corner. The striker cut in past the advancing keeper and curled a neat left foot strike just inside the far post.

Ballinamallard contined their pressure with Ciaran Smith probing at every opportunity from midfield.

Full back too David Elliott also linked well with James Edgar on the left side and caused problems with his probing runs.

Coleraine were restricted to long range efforts in the first half with keeper Jack Kerr Reid little troubled.

Ballinamallard’s second arrived on 54 minutes when a Sean O’Reilly corner was flicked on at the near post by central defender Lee McNulty and Michael Dooris times his run perfectly to nod home.

With Ballinamallard in complete control Coleraine lost their composure and had a player red carded after a bout of rash tackling.

On 70 minutes James Edgar’s delightful cross field ball to Ollie Russell saw him close in on goal, but the young winger missed from close range.

Manager Ray Sanderson felt his team did a good job on Saturday.

We were short a few, but everyone played their part. We closed down early, moved the ball in difficult conditions and took our chances. We could have had a few more on a good day.

Vs Dungannon Youth (30th November, Away, Irish Youth Cup)

Last year’s finalists Ballinamallard Youth exited the Irish Youth Cup at the hands of Dungannon Swifts.

It was certainly a game of two halves with the Fermanagh side completely dominating the first half, but not putting the game out of sight with the chances they created.

Dungannon, with several Reserve team players on show, improved in the second half and scored four. In an explosive final five minutes Ballinamallard pulled one back to make it 3-2 and had a glorious opportunity to draw level in the 92 second minute, before Dungannon raced up field to finish the game off at the final whistle.

It was the visitors who took the lead after 17 minutes. Playing excellent football a great move down the left flank between James Edgar and David Elliott saw Elliott deliver a superb cross into the six yard box for the in form Michael Dooris to flick home.

Ballinamallard were well on top at this stage and just before the break they should have increased their lead when Dooris’ low shot crashed back off the base of the posts.

But the second half was a different story with Dungannon netting twice in six minutes.

On 51 minutes a ball from the right saw a striker get in front of Kyle Deery and  Ali Woods to shoot home from close range.

Four minutes later the home side was ahead when another ball from the right flank wasn’t dealt with an the striker nipped in to score past Jack Kerr Reid.

On 72 minutes Dungannon made it three with a good left foot strike from 14 yards.

But Ballinamallard changed their system and on 85 minutes pulled one back when Edgar struck home  from 10 yards after a good move down the left.

Ballinamallard threw everything forward and on 92 minutes they had the chance of the game when  a Sean O’Reilly shot was parried into his path, but the striker fired over.

With the visitors pushing forward Dungannon broke in the final seconds to score a fourth in the 93rd minute.

Manager Ray Sanderson admitted it was a disappointing result but felt his side produced some of their best football of the season.

Their first half was exceptional, with good passing and movement. We denied Dungannon space, but in the second half slack defending let them in for soft goals.

However, I was impressed with the way they fought back and almost snatched a leveller in the dying seconds.”

Vs Glentoran Colts (23rd Nov, Home, League)

An excellent second half of flowing football gave Ballinamallard Youth three points against Glentoran on Saturday and moved them up to second place, behind leaders Linfield.

They got off to a a good start creating one or two early chances.

The first came after eight minutes when Paul Elliott’s driven corner was knocked over the bar from close range by central defender Lee McNulty.

On 20 minutes though they went a goal ahead, Elliott’s flick on putting Michael Dooris in on goal to neatly lob past the advancing Glentoran keeper.

But four minutes before the break McNulty lost possession outside his own penalty area and a Glentoran defender stole in to strike low into the net.

On the half time whistle Ballinamallard regained their lead when a great run from Ollie Russell saw him cut in from the right. His low shot was parried by the keeper, but Mark Cutler was on hand to pick up the pieces.

Earlier Russell had made another god run, cut across the penalty box and teed a great chance up for Dooris.

Although Ballinamallard were in control in the second half they couldn’t add to their score until the 70th minute.

Good work on the right from Dooris saw his cross pushed away by the Glens keeper, but Adam Breen was on hand to tap home.

Two minutes later David Elliott made a great run down the left flank before being taken down inside the penalty area and  Ciaran Smith slotted home the spot kick.

Then on 75 minutes Danny Noble broke down the right flank before whipping in a great cross for Dooris to score his second.

Manager Ray Sanderson said, “I was really pleased with the second half performances. We were without three senior players on Saturday but for the second week in a row we netted five.

We must build on this and make sure we incorporate it in our future games. It should give everyone confidence.”

Vs Cliftonville (16th Nov, Away, League)

Ballinamallard under-18s got it right on Saturday when they shot five past a physical Cliftonville side.

For two weeks now the Fisher Park side hadn’t been firing on all cyclinders, particularly around goal, but on Saturday they put that to be with five excellent strikes.

Although they got off to a shaky start in the opening 10 minutes the eventually began to settle and found good space down the left flank.

On 25 minutes they took the lead when James Edgar was played in on the left side. His first time cross was perfectly met by Jamie Lee Fawcett on the six yard line to shoot home.

Two minutes later the visitors were two up. This time dubutant Michael Dooris squared a good ball to Jake Smith who hit a cracking shot into the top right hand corner from 20 yards.

Just before the break Ballinamallard were awarded a penalty, when the lively  Edgar’s driven cross was handled in the penalty box.

Jake Smith stepped up to shoot home number three.

With Cliftonville reduced to 10 men and the game getting very heated, Ballinamllard found plenty of space to move the ball and that they did with style.

On the hour they netted a fourth. This time substitute Paul Elliott carved out an opening on the left and crossed to the back post where winger Ollie  Russell cut the ball back into the path of Dooris to score from close range.

On 80 minutes Cliftonville pulled one back when a long range strike from the edge of the penalty area beat keeper Jack Kerr Reid in the corner.

Then following an incident on the half way line the referee red carded a Cliftonville player and Jake Smith after an altercation.

But five minutes later Ballinamallard scored a fifth. Paul Elliott challenged for a good ball on the half way line as the visitors broke. He turned well and outpaced his marker before shooting home from just inside the penalty box.

Dooris could have added to his tally when he tried to finish an exquisite ball from Ciaran Smith in what was the best move of the match.

Three minutes before the end though the referee blew up early.

It was good to see us back to something like ourselves,” said manager Ray Sanderson.

Although we took our time to find our rhythm, when we did it was excellent.
More players were on form and the boys moved the ball very well.
We have been creating chances, but on Saturday they were taken and it made all the difference, giving confidence all round.”
Vs Glenavon Thirds (9th Nov, Away, League)

Ballinamallard suffered from a lack of goalscoring power again on Saturday when they went down by three goals to one against Glenavon.

It was the Fermanagh boys who started the brighter though when Jamie Lee Fawcett robbed a defender on the edge of his penalty area to set up Paul Elliott, whose two attempts were saved.

But it was Glenavon who took the lead with a goalkeeping error.

The Glenavon keeper’s long kick out bounced on the edge of the penalty area and as keeper Aaron Allister came to gather the ball bounced high and over his head into the net.

Six minutes later the Mid Ulster side was two up when a shot from 25 yards was pushed onto the post by keeper Allister, but the ball bounced off the inside of the post  and back to the Glenavon centre forward to tap home.

In the second half Ballinamallard really improved their game with Paul Elliott, Ollie Russell and Fawcett all going close. The Glenavon keeper had an excellent day making good saves from all three.

On 50 minutes Ballinamallard pulled one back. Fawcett was fouled outside the Glenavon penalty area and Jake Smith’s curling free kick beat the wall and the keeper to pull the Fermanagh side back into the game.

As they pushed for the winner though Glenavon caught them on the counter with their striker running across the outside of the 18 yard box to drill a low shot into the far corner.

Manager Ray Sanderson admitted it was a disappointing result.

We really didn’t take our chances on the day. We created enough good opportunities again this week to win game. We need to be more ruthless around goal. But the boys have to keep believing in themselves. We must knuckle down and concentrate on getting a good performance and result against Cliftonville this week.”
Vs Rosario YC (2nd Nov, Home, Irish Cup)

Ballinamallard Youth got through this tough encounter by the skin of their teeth on Saturday.

The Fisher Park side came back from behind three times on Saturday to win through in extra time.

They had a slow start and could have been a goal down in the opening 10 minutes when keeper Jack Kerr Reid’s clearance went to a Rosario striker. But the keeper made amends with a fine block from the striker’s shot.

But it was Rosario who opened the scoring when they netted from a cross from the right.

Midway through the half Ballinamallard came back when David Elliott’s good run saw him upended in the penalty box. Jamie Lee Fawcett slotted home the spot kick.

But the Belfast side took the lead again when a corner wasn’t dealt with and their striker headed home from close range.

Ballinamallard came back when Sanderson’s whipped free kick was powerfully headed home by Ali Woods.

Back in the game again, and creating chances, but Ballinamallard couldn’t get a lead.

Indeed with time running out in the 89th Rosario won another corner. The ball deceived everyone with the win and again the Belfast team scored from close range.

But the young Mallard team threw everything forward and in the 92 minute levelled again when substitute James Edgar slotted the ball home between two defenders in a crowded penalty area.

With the game in extra time substitute Mark Cutler was the one to break through the visiting defence to score what proved to be the winner.

Manager Ray Sanderson admitted his boys got out of jail.
We showed great character to come back three times, but really shouldn’t have been in that position.  We’re still creating lots of chances which is a good sign.”

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