Swifts flying higher than Ducks following a five-goal thriller
Dungannon Swifts 3-2 Ballinamallard
Rodney McAree praised his Dungannon side after they struck late to win a chaotic derby against Ballinamallard.
Andrew Mitchell scored in the 88th minute to fire the Swifts into the top six.
But that is only half the story of a dramatic match which produced five goals, a controversial penalty and a late red card.
Dungannon led 2-1 with four minutes left. Josh McIlwaine looked to have saved a point in the 86th minute, stabbing home after Ryan Mayse's free-kick fell kindly. But Mitchell won it when he turned David Armstrong's header across the line, taking his tally for the season to 16 goals.
McAree said: "As soon as it went 2-2, I thought that was it. I didn't really see a winner. But credit to the boys, they showed terrific spirit to go on and win it.
"Conceding so late could have knocked us, but there is a good attitude in the team."
One of the Mallards' four wins this season came against Dungannon in October and at the break they were on for a repeat.
Jason McCartney's eye-catching goal in the 27th minute gave them the lead, somewhat against the run of play. A goal kick found its way through to McCartney, who lobbed the ball over the oncoming Stuart Addis and just inside the far post.
Mayse, sporting a heavily bandaged forehead from a first half collision, saw an effort palmed away by the goalkeeper after the break.
The Swifts got a controversial leveller on 69 minutes.
Jamie Glackin won a penalty, which Mitchell converted - but the Mallards claimed it went in via a second touch off the striker's other boot. After a talk with his assistant, the referee awarded the goal. Sub Paul McElroy then put the home side 2-1 in front.
He met a cross from Mitchell, with his header beating the goalkeeper a little too easily.
But that was only the start of a crazy finale. McIlwaine levelled, before Mitchell's winner.
Then, in the final seconds, Liam McMenamin was sent off for the away side.
McAree added: "We have 16 wins and 14 losses in 2016, the rest are draws. For Dungannon Swifts over a calendar year that is very good."
Dungannon Swifts: Addis, Burns, Wilson, Armstrong, O'Rourke, Harpur, Glackin, Teggart (Lowe, 90), McMahon (Burke, 66), Lavery (McElroy, 60), Mitchell
Subs not used: Morgan, Fitzpatrick
Ballinamallard United: Crawford, McMenamin, Taheny, McCabe, McKenna, Mayse, McIlwaine, Elliott (Owens, 77), McCartney, McConnell, Lafferty (Cadden, 80)
Subs not used: McGrath, Feeney, Frempong
Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)
Man of the match: Ryan Harpur (Dungannon Swifts)
Match rating: 8/10