Jenkins inspires Ballymena United to banish hoodoo
Ballymena United 2 Dungannon Swifts 1: It was a tale of nipping hoodoos in the bud as Ballymena United got the better of Dungannon Swifts.
It was almost a year to the day since Sky Blues skipper Allan Jenkins last found the net and so doing in the first-half of Saturday's encounter set his side on the way to a long overdue win over the Swifts at the Showgrounds.
It was 2007 when they last celebrated a home victory over a Dungannon side who were a pale shadow of the team that entered the game unbeaten but found a United opponent led by example in Jenkins.
He was magnificent throughout, not just popping up to hammer home a header in the 16th minute but covering every blade of grass to ensure victory that looked doubtful when Darren Boyce levelled just past the hour, less so when Shane Dolan scored soon after and nervy when Alan Davidson whacked a penalty off the crossbar.
"It's been a while since I scored so it's nice to get off the mark," commented the Scotsman.
"Spike preached to us before the game for myself, Gary Thompson and Alan Davidson getting into double figures because that's what we need. We need to spread goals about the team and thankfully Gary's got one, I've got one and Alan's off the penalties!
"It was another thing Spike had on the board was that it was the first time since 2007 that we'd beaten them at home and it's something like three wins out of 25 against them. It was typical Ballymena because we made it hard for ourselves but I think we got what we deserved. We showed great character to go up and score a goal after just conceding."
Swifts boss Darren Murphy is a man who knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a quality player in the midfield engine room and was quick to highlight the former Greenock Morton player's contribution.
"Allan Jenkins epitomised all that was good about them," said Murphy. "I'm not saying that he got the ball down and cut us open but he did the parts of the game you need to do to win games in the Irish League."
Opposite number Glenn Ferguson, who hopes to finalise a loan deal for Linfield striker Matthew Tipton this week, also praised his captain marvel.
"He showed how lethal he can be in the air all day," he added.
Ballymena United: Nelson, Kane, McCullagh, Taylor, McBride, Thompson, Davidson, Jenkins, Teggart (Ruddy 89), Dolan (Liggett 81), Lowry (Gawley 46). Unused subs: Stewart, Surgenor.
Scorers: Jenkins (14 mins), Dolan (62 mins)
Dungannon Swifts: Buchanan, McKerr, Grieve, Brennan, McMinn (Fitzpatrick 81), Harpur, Hutchinson, McCullough, Boyce, Costello (Douglas 81), C Lavery (Glackin 58). Unused subs: S Lavery, Mulgrew.
Scorer: Boyce (61 mins).
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon).