Belfast Telegraph

Lecky strike boosts Mallards and piles pressure on Ports

By Gareth Cauldwell

Ten-man Ballinamallard picked up a massive three points in their bottom of the table clash against Portadown at Ferney Park last night.

Adam Lecky’s tenth league goal of the season proved to be the difference for a Mallards side who played for an hour without Ross Taheny after he was shown a red card for a last man tackle on Aaron Haire.

The win moves Ballinamallard 15 points clear of Niall Currie’s Ports outfit in the table and five ahead of Carrick Rangers.

The Mallards enjoyed more of the ball in the opening stages  and got the ball into some good wide positions without really threatening. It was the visitors, though, who had the first real chance of the game when Haire played in Stephen Hughes but his effort was saved by the feet of goalkeeper Cameron Crawford and from the resultant corner Keith O’Hara was unable to steer his header on goal.

The home side were then to suffer a setback as they were reduced to 10 men when defender Taheny was given his marching orders by referee Lee Tavinder.

A swift Ports break saw Robert Garrett feed Haire and he was taken down as he raced towards goal.

Tavinder initially appeared to send the wrong man off as he flashed the card at Ryan McConnell but he corrected his decision and Taheny was sent for an early bath in the 31st minute.

However, it was the Mallards who were to go in at the break with the advantage as top goalscorer Lecky struck five minutes later.

Ryan Mayse cut in from the right and Lecky powered a shot from the corner of the box into the back of the net via the post.

The second half saw the game turn into a physical encounter and was quite stop-start, although the Ports did have a couple of opportunities early in the half.

Alan Byrne blazed over the bar after a Garrett cross bounced about the box while Hughes was again denied by Crawford who saved with his feet after the attacker had burst in from the right.

As the half progressed the Mallards dropped deeper and deeper and defender Ryan McConnell made a great block on Hughes as he got his shot on goal.

In a frenetic finish Portadown saw Nathaniel Ferris fire over, Garry Breen drill a ball across the face of the goal and Mallards substitute Callum Frempong make a vital clearance close to goal as Hughes closed in.

In the end though the Mallards hung on for a crucial victory in the battle at the bottom.

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