The Mallards sit proudly on top of the Danske Bank Premiership after thumping Lisburn Distillery 5-0 at New Grosvenor and it was all free to a decent crowd that took up the home team’s offer of ‘free admission’.
Ballinamallard United boss Whitey Anderson, beaming afterwards, simply took it all in his stride as the newly-promoted Fermanagh side showed they will be no push-overs after their first senior win.
“It’s been a great day, if we had four points from every two matches I would take that from now until the end of the season,” laughed Anderson.
“We will just enjoy the day but we know that harder tests lie ahead (but) it sends out the right messages and from our players point of view it gives them the belief that they can actually do reasonably well this season.
“We know that it is going to be tough, the game is different, it is 38 weeks at that standard and high intensity which a lot of them haven’t been used to.
“However, we have a lot of belief in the young players, some of them go out and play with no nerves.
“There is a hunger and desire there and we have a wee bit of experience which helps us as well.”
Jason McCartney was the main man for the Mallards, grabbing a hat-tick with goals on 20, 76 and 89 minutes. His second came from a penalty whilst his third was easily his best when he jinked past defenders before firing in at the near post.
“The most important thing for us is to get points on the board. People said that we would struggle but we showed that we could hold our own,” was the clear message from McCartney afterwards.
In a memorable day for the Mallards, Chris Curran blasted in the second on 52 minutes whilst Andy Crawford headed home on 67 minutes.
By then the Whites were down to 10 men as Phil Simpson had been dismissed on the hour.
However, the home side had been second best throughout leaving an angry Tim McCann plenty to ponder on but he too felt for the fans who endured that hammering.
He said: “All I can do is to apologise to the Lisburn Distillery fans for the embarrassment of today and promise that we get back on track sooner rather than later and start picking points up because I certainly don’t want Lisburn Distillery fans being put through what they went through last year because they don’t deserve that.”
The Premier League new boys will view this convincing result as a massive shot in the arm but the Whites will be looking to show their character against Crusaders next Saturday.
It may be very early stages in the league campaign but no side wants to be playing catch-up at the wrong end of the table.
But there’s not a lot separating all the teams in the top flight — including the new boys.