Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United could have scored 10 against Ballinamallard, says Friel

Ballymena United 2-1 Ballinamallard United

Goal scorer: Cathair Friel
Goal scorer: Cathair Friel

By Billy Weir

Cathair Friel notched up his 12th goal of the season on Saturday but the Ballymena United striker admitted it could and should have been much more.

Friel wasn't the only culprit though as most of the Sky Blue team had chances to make it an easy day against bottom of the table Ballinamallard United.

Apart from Friel's 57th minute close range finish from strike partner Jonathan McMurray's cross, all they had to show for their enterprising attacking play was a 42nd minute penalty from the excellent Tony Kane.

When Mallards' substitute Gary Armstrong netted in the 84th minute it made for a nervy ending and manager David Jeffrey made sure his players know about it, hopping up and down on the touchline.

"On another day it could have been 10, especially as myself and Johnny didn't take our chances and their goal put a bit of pressure on us for the last 10 minutes," said Friel.

"We've thrown leads away before, the boss was going mad because he knows we could have been three or four up."

Jeffrey himself was happy that his side notched up the points to close to within one of Glentoran in sixth, but there could be extra finishing practice this week.

"The quality of the performance was first class. If someone was to give a mark it would be 9.5 but for finishing - 5.5," he said.

For opposite number Gavin Dykes, the struggle continues, but he sees light at the end of the tunnel.

"It's getting better, we just have to try and hang in there until January, get bodies in," he said.

Ballymena: Glendinning, Ervin, McCullough (Shevlin, 87 mins), Owens, Balmer, T Kane, McCaffrey, McKinney, Friel, McMurray, McCloskey. Unused subs: McAlorum, E. Kane, Brennan, McNeill.

Ballinamallard: Brush, McConnell, Taheny, Smyth, McCann, Burns, Hutchinson, Leddy (Curran, 69 mins), McGinty, Martyn (Owens, 77 mins), McCartney (Armstrong, 77 mins). Unused subs: McLoughlin, McKenna.

Man of the match: Tony Kane

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

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