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Jeffrey a proud man as Ballymena United set up battles with big guns

Ballinamallard United 1 Ballymena United 2

By Gareth Cauldwell

Ballymena United guaranteed themselves a top six finish in the Premiership after they came from behind to beat Ballinamallard at Ferney Park on Saturday.

The hosts had taken the lead through a rocket of a strike from Shane McGinty after nine minutes but Ballymena responded soon after with Jonny McMurray firing home before Conor McCloskey capitalised on a mistake by Mallard's goalkeeper Richard Brush.

Brush did make amends when he saved Cathair Friel's 79th minutes penalty but this was to have no bearing on the outcome as Ballymena held on for the three points.

With this win coming hot on the heels of last week's League Cup success, it has been a good spell for the Braidmen and manager David Jeffrey was delighted for his players following the win in Fermanagh.

"That's sixth place secured now and that was our target at the beginning of the season. It's something that Ballymena have never done since the inception of the Premiership and I'm immensely proud of my players," said Jeffrey.

"We have done tremendously well, to have won a trophy this year was the icing on the cake, and we also wanted to get the top six, but once you get to there then you want to test yourself again so we won't be resting on our laurels."

Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes has seen his squad badly hit by injuries but he felt that they could have taken something out of the game.

"I thought we had chances and we should have come in at half time 2-1 up as we had a great chance just before the break," he said.

"They started the second half well and we gave away a soft goal and they probably should have killed the game off with the penalty, but we had a couple of big chances towards the end but we got nothing out of it."

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