Belfast Telegraph

It will not be 11-0 this time around: Whitey Anderson

By Graham Luney

Ballinamallard United will this afternoon return to the scene of the horrendous crime last September.

Just over a year ago the Mallards were crushed 11-0 by Portadown at Shamrock Park and while there have been a few personnel changes since that rout, the mental scars remain for those who will never forget it.

United returned later in the season and suffered only a 1-0 loss and this time they are quietly confident another black September day isn't written in the stars.

The biggest Irish League win for 47 years featured Kevin Braniff in the Ports line-up, but while he has moved across mid-Ulster to Glenavon and Gary Twigg is currently injured, Darren Murray and Mark McAllister are firing the bullets and a new look robust midfield has arguably enhanced the firepower at boss Ronnie McFall's disposal.

Ahead of today's reunion, Mallards boss Whitey Anderson doesn't wish to be reminded of the 11-0 horror show, but he is confident lightning won't strike twice.

"This is a different squad here now though some of the boys are obviously still here," said Anderson. "But we went to Coleraine and won the week after that and we only lost 1-0 at the Ports later in the season.

"People won't let us forget about that game, but I can honestly say I was as disappointed with the players last weekend when a very poor second half performance saw us lose at home to Institute.

"I need the players to play well for the full 93 minutes of a game, not just in patches.

"You need to be mentally strong and up for a battle when you go to Shamrock Park.

"We went to pieces during that 11-0 game and folded like a house of cards.

"Now we have players who can stand up and be strong and mix it with the best and Jason McCartney's return from injury is a huge boost as well. He's a key player for us.

"A lot of people are saying the Ports are title contenders and after their big signings in the summer you can understand that argument."

The Fermanagh men face a tough assignment against the table-toppers, but Anderson insists his boys will relish the battle.

"I am very happy with the squad I have," he added.

"This is the best group of players I have had since the team was promoted into the top flight.

"We haven't hit the ground running, but not many teams have and the performance in the win over Ballymena United showed what we are capable of.

"We are optimistic we can get something at Portadown."

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