Lecky gives Ballinamallard breathing space
Ballinamallard 2 Coleraine 1: Richard Lecky's late winner breathed fresh life into Ballinamallard United's survival hopes.
The former Portadown striker emerged from the bench to rifle home from the edge of the box as the Mallards maintained their record of never having lost a Premiership meeting with Coleraine.
Ryan Campbell had opened the scoring just before the hour but Gareth Tommons didn't take long to level before Lecky's firm 79th minute finish lifted Whitey Anderson's men a welcome three points clear of the relegation zone.
"It was a big win," said Anderson.
"To be honest, before the game I would have taken a point just to keep our noses in front of Warrenpoint, but to get the three points is a big boost for the players and I'm delighted for them because, despite having had a difficult time, they have kept working hard at training and they have a great spirit."
Campbell broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second period when, following a smart exchange of passes with the lively Jason McCartney, he planted a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Eugene Ferry and into the bottom corner.
Campbell almost doubled United's lead only to clip the outside of the post before Ferry made a fine save to keep him at bay and those misses looked set to prove costly when Tommons' well-executed half-volley squared things shortly afterwards.
Lecky would have the contest's decisive impact, however, when he latched onto David Kee's back-heel and smashed home with aplomb.
There was a late furore when Coleraine's Stephen Lowry picked up a straight red card for an apparent stamp on Kee, who was subsequently sent on the long walk himself after picking up a second yellow card for his role in the same incident.
BALLINAMALLARD: Murphy, McMenamin, Stafford, Hill, Keohane, Hutchinson, C Beacom, Kee, McCartney (Martin, 85 mins) Crawford (Lecky, 70mins), Campbell.
COLERAINE: Ferry, Douglas, Hegarty, (Browne, 60mins), Beverland, McIlmoyle, Tommons, Lowry, McNeill, Mullan, Harkin (E Bradley, 60mins), McDaid.
Referee: Eddie Ferguson