Ballinamallard sneak past battling Strabane
A RYAN Campbell goal in the 20th minute secured Ballinamallard United a home tie against Glenavon in the next round of the Irish Cup as they eventually saw off a stubborn Strabane Athletic side at Ferney Park last night.
After an even opening 10 minutes, Ballinamallard took control of matters and Davy Kee should have put the Mallards in front in the 18th minute.
A Mark Stafford free kick sent Stuart Hutchinson away down the right and he picked out Kee in the centre, but the midfielder did not get enough purchase on his effort and the ball rolled harmlessly wide.
The pressure started to build, with the home side forcing a number of corners before they made the breakthrough in the 20th minute. Cathal Beacom took a short corner to Davy Kee, who floated the ball to the back post where Stafford rose to head back across goal and Ryan Campbell was on hand to steer a header past Ruairi Winters in the Strabane goal.
The lively Campbell had the chance to make it two a couple of minutes later when he was put in on the right hand side by Stafford but he fired wide of the far post.
Ballinamallard were allowing Strabane less time and space on the ball than they had in the first game and they continued to press forward with Aodhan Doherty making a timely interception with Richard Lecky set to pounce, while Campbell did have the ball in the net for a second time but on this occasion it was rightly ruled out for offside.
And Campbell had the final chance of the half but he dragged wide when the ball fell kindly to him in the box.
Strabane though lifted their game after the interval and the introduction of Johnny Lafferty brought more life to the visitors attack. Lafferty got his head to a Gerard Donaghey cross but could not direct it on goal before skipping around a challenge and whistling a shot narrowly wide.
Ballinamallard were made to work hard in the second half but they went close to making it 2-0 in the 87th minute when Kee's free kick clipped the bar.
With Stafford immense at the back, the Mallards managed to see out the remainder of the time to secure their passage into the next round.
Ballinamallard Utd: A. Rouse, D. Keohane, M. Stafford, D. Kee, S. Hutchinson, R. Lecky (S. Sheridan 89mins), J. Currie, C. Beacom (A. Crawford 69mins), N. Beacom, R. Campbell, C. Hill
Strabane Athletic: R. Winters, K. Kelly (L. Conwell 81mins), A. Doherty (J. Lafferty 57mins), L. McMenamin, J.Donaghey, R. Graham, G. Donaghey, W. Mullen, S. Ferry, J. McGringer (J. Breslin 74mins), A. Friel
Referee: Mark Courtney