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Currie delight as Ards finally make mark in the big league

By Keith Bailie

Ards 4 Ballinamallard 1: Ards boss Niall Currie praised his players' work rate and intensity following their impressive Dixon Park victory over Ballinamallard United.

Jason McCartney gave the Mallards a fourth minute lead and left Currie's men staring down the barrel of yet another Premiership loss, but a brace from William Faulkner, a wonder strike from Ryan Henderson and a late goal from Mark McClelland gave Ards their second league victory of the season.

After the game, a passionate Currie said: "I told the players before they went out onto the pitch that it is up to them. We believe in them but they've got to believe in themselves.

"There are talented boys here and, once they realise they are good enough to play at this level, they will kick on and become good Premiership players. For me, it's all about mentality.

"We showed against Ballinamallard exactly what we're capable of. They couldn't live with our intensity.

"Our work rate and our pressing were phenomenal.

"That was like the Ards of last year, but doing it in the Premiership is very different from doing it in the Championship.

"To finally do it at Premiership level was very, very pleasing."

Understandably, Ballinamallard boss Whitey Anderson wasn't as cheerful.

His side started well but, for the majority of the game, Ards' five- man midfield dominated the contest, suffocating the Fermanagh side and preventing them from imposing their normal passing style on proceedings.

Anderson said: "We were dire today.

"We started well but we didn't kick on from the goal. I feel sorry for the fans as they've travelled a long way for a disappointing performance.

"Our midfield was poor today. They didn't compete – which was down to Ards.

"They closed us down and worked so hard. They earned their victory today and they thoroughly deserved the three points. We now have to go back to the drawing board.

"This result wasn't about tactics or systems, it was about commitment and desire."

The afternoon had started so well for Anderson and co when McCartney fired the ball high into the unguarded net after goalkeeper Graeme McKibbin had blocked an initial shot from Stephen Sheridan.

The Ards equaliser arrived in the 34th minute when midfielder Andy Smith floated a ball over the top of the defence and William Faulkner controlled well before confidently slotting past Alvin Rouse.

Currie's men took the lead three minutes before the break when Henderson unleashed a stunning 30-yard half volley that found the back of the net via the inside of the post.

Faulkner grabbed his second of the game in the 59th minute when he found himself in space on the edge of the box and drilled the ball low into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Mark McClelland wrapped the points up in the 86th minute when his effort bounced into the back of the net.

Ards: McKibbin, Hall, Gibson, Hunter, McCullough, Smith, Faulkner, McMillen (Roy, 90 mins), Henderson (Davidson, 74 mins), Dougan, Mitchell (McClelland, 77 mins). Unused subs: Spence, P McDowell

Ballinamallard: Rouse, McConkey, Carters, Stafford, Keohane, Sheridan (Cashel, 58 mins), C Beacom (Hutchinson, 62 mins), Kee, McCartney, Campbell, Crawford. Unused subs: Murphy, Feeney, N Beacom

Referee: Hugh Carvill (Belfast)

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