Ballinamallard stay with elite
Ballinamallard United 0 Linfield 0
Ballinamallard United manager Whitey Anderson was delighted for his players as they guaranteed themselves a top six finish with a scoreless draw against Linfield.
The Fermanagh side have been the surprise package of the Danske Bank Premiership and to have secured a top half finish in their first season was, admitted Anderson, a huge achievement for the club.
Though a youthful Linfield hit the woodwork twice in the first half, through Matthew Tipton and Philip Lowry, the Mallards defended solidly to secure the point required to guarantee them a place among the elite for the remainder of the season.
"To finish in the top six is a fantastic achievement for this football club, and in particular the players, they have been brilliant and I'm delighted for them," said Anderson. "They are the ones who go on the pitch and work hard for each other, and I would have been very sorry for them if we hadn't been in the top six."
The Mallards went into the Linfield clash aware that even if they were beaten they could still finish in the top half as it would require a seven goal swing for Portadown to over take them if they were defeated.
Anderson though felt it was key for the Mallards to get their own result and not worry about elsewhere.
"We have done it in our own right and that is the most important thing," he said.
"If we had lost and still made the top six it would not have felt the same.
"We have earned it and now we want to see what we can do for the rest of the season."
Anderson believes there will be no pressure on his side during the final five games. Indeed, he said they will be looking forward to playing against the top sides in the league over the final weeks of the season.
"We have absolutely nothing to lose and it will maybe take the shackles off," said Anderson.
"We have five games to go and we will just go out and have a go in every single game and maybe we will get a few more results.
"It is brilliant to be going back to Windsor Park before the end of the season and we have Glentoran, Coleraine, Cliftonville and Crusaders, it's just great for the club."
The Ballinamallard manager also thought that his side were good value for a share of the spoils on Saturday.
"I think early on we should have taken the lead and then they hit the post with a shot out of nothing," added Anderson.
"I think a draw was a fair result though and the two defences were on top."