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World Cup 2018

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Jeffrey praises injury-ravaged Sky Blues' thirst for the battle

Ballinamallard United 1 Ballymena United 3

By Tim Nelson

In the face of a developing injury crisis, Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey was delighted his team overcame Ballinamallard.

Goals by Leroy Millar, Tony Kane and Cathair Friel leave the Sky Blues - who were without Kevin Braniff and Emmet Friars, fresh additions to an ever-growing casualty list that includes Johnny McMurray, Matthew Shevlin and Stephen McAlorum among others - well placed in mid-table.

"I never like to use injury as an excuse in any way but we have been crippled with injuries in recent times," said Jeffrey.

"We keep picking up knocks, left, right and centre. That's on top of all the injuries we already have.

"It's great credit to the boys who have come in and taken their opportunity to help us get the points we have got thus far."

Josh McIlwaine pulled a goal back but that was as good as it got for the Mallards, whom boss Gavin Dykes is urging to remain positive.

"We passed the ball really well," he said. "I thought its the best we have played to be honest with you.

"We are getting punished for the silliest of things, but the heads didn't drop and at 3-0 we had a right go."

BALLINAMALLARD: Brush, McConnell (McGinty, 71 mins), McLaughlin, Taheny, Smyth, McCartney, Leddy, Clarke, Owens (Armstrong, 52 mins), Curran, McIlwaine. Unused subs: Burns; Brennan; McCann.

BALLYMENA: Brennan, Kane, Owens, Millar, Flynn, Gault, Ervin, Thompson, Burns, McKinney (McCloskey, 85 mins), Friel. Unused subs: Glendinning, Faulkner, McCullough, McCaffrey.

Referee: Lee Tavinder (Dungannon)

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