Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Ballinamallard United 1 Coleraine 0

The Ballinamallard United fairytale reached a new high on Saturday as the Fermanagh club claimed the top spot in the Danske Bank Premiership with a Ryan Campbell strike earning them a deserved 1-0 win over Coleraine at Ferney Park.

The Mallards have been the story of the season so far with the win over the Bannsiders their sixth straight league victory in a row to take them to the top of the pile — not bad for a side enjoying its first ever term in Premiership football.

“We're still in dreamland,” said Anderson.

“We're only a small country club and the first from Fermanagh to play in the Premiership so to be sitting top of the league after 11 games in out first season in the division is just unbelievable.”

However, Anderson was quick to stress that they will not be getting carried away with anything and that the side’s goal remains the same as at the start of the season.

He added: “It has always been about staying up and the aim for us is to get the points on the board to achieve that.

“We would like to get to that point as quickly as we can but we are also aware that there are a lot of tough games to be played and teams know all about us now,” he added.

Having defeated Linfield, Cliftonville, Portadown and Coleraine, the Mallards are top of the league on merit and Anderson has emphasised that the players deserve huge credit for their efforts.

“We're enjoying every minute of it and the players have been unbelievable,” he said. “Their commitment, desire and courage has been second to none and I have to say I'm delighted to manage this group of players.”

Saturday's game was decided by Campbell's second half effort, with the striker managing to bag his fifth goal in the last five league games.

The first half was a cagey affair but it opened up more in the second period with Campbell latching on to a Jason McCartney knock down before blasting past Michael Docherty in the Coleraine goals.

“We changed things around a bit for Coleraine and in the first half we basically cancelled each other out,” said Anderson.

“I thought Coleraine started the second half strongly but we responded really well to this.

“At half-time I felt that one goal would decide the game either way and thankfully ‘Rocket' came up with a bit if magic to give us the points.”

Opposite number Oran Kearney could not fault his players’ efforts but felt the effects of Tuesday’s marathon League Cup defeat to Linfield had perhaps taken its toll on energy levels.

“I could tell there was a yard off the usual pace we’d play at,” he said.

“I’d stressed the importance of getting the first goal early on and being in front going into the last half an hour, but it never came and then, when we had to chase the game in the last 20 minutes, we looked visibly drained.

“On Tuesday, we never let up against Linfield and kept fighting until the very last seconds but, in retrospect, we paid the price for that on Saturday.”

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