Rival managers sent off as Mallards make their point
Carrick Rangers 2-2 Ballinamallard
Rival managers Davy McAlinden and Gavin Dykes were sent off by referee Steven Taylor at half-time after a brawl also involving Ballinamallard captain James McKenna, a decision which bewildered Mallards boss Dykes.
After the 2-2 draw, which kept the gap between the two basement sides at five points, Carrick manager McAlinden explained what happened immediately after McKenna had given the visitors a 31st-minute lead.
"Their goalscorer comes to our bench and let off a stream of abuse directed at me," said McAlinden (right).
"I don't know the boy but it annoyed me and I asked him at half-time what the issue was.
"He couldn't answer the question, just kept saying derogatory things and their manager gets involved and seemed to back up the player. But that's their choice. He wouldn't be in my dressing room."
Mallards manager Dykes responded by saying that he had been told to get his captain off the pitch by the fourth official.
"Davy came charging at me, I did absolutely nothing and I was told at half-time that I was sent off. Absolutely ridiculous," said Dykes.
"If my captain said something wrong, which I don't know if he did, then I will speak to him about it because I won't accept it either."
Whatever McAlinden said at the interval - before he took his place behind the dug-out - certainly fired up his side and they were in front inside 15 minutes of the restart.
Carrick's first goal came in the 52nd minute when substitute Andrew Mooney's cross was met by the unmarked Michael Smith, who headed into the corner of the net.
It looked as if Smith would put Carrick in front with their next attack but his goal-bound effort was brilliantly saved by Richard Brush between the Ballinamallard sticks.
Six minutes later, though, Denver Gage rose highest at the back post to meet a corner from Eamon McAllister and his powerful header widened the gap at the bottom.
But both teams' respective winless run, which stretches back to October, was extended when, seven minutes from time, substitute Joshua McIlwaine met McKenna's cross at the back post to poke past Harry Doherty.