Ballinamallard boss slams ref as red cards play part in Glentoran victory
Glentoran 2-1 Ballinamallard
Ballinamallard United boss Gavin Dykes last night blasted referee Ian McNabb after his side finished with only nine men in a 2-1 defeat at The Oval.
Goalkeeper Richard Brush was dismissed in the first half and substitute Davy Kee took the walk of shame eight minutes from time.
It looked so good early on when Sean Noble shot the visitors into the lead, but they finally paid the price after losing Brush when Willie Garrett levelled.
Then, in-form Curtis Allen shot home the winner, leaving the Danske Bank Premiership basement side cursing their luck.
"The dismissal of Brush was the game changer," rapped Dykes. "If I'm wrong I'll apologise, but there were covering defenders - the goalkeeper wasn't the last man.
"It was all uphill after that, although the boys gave me everything. Glentoran's winner was even fortunate because the referee awarded a corner kick and it was never a corner.
"Things like that happen when you're at the bottom."
It was only Glentoran's second win in five months in front of their home fans.
Allen looked to have put the home team ahead after only four minutes, but the referee disallowed the effort after the striker had nudged defender Matthew Smyth in the back.
Seconds later, an error from Calum Birney allowed Josh McIlwaine a clear run at goal and, after scampering clear, he could only screw his shot wide.
Against all the odds, United forged into the lead 11 minutes before the break. Jonathan Leddy's rasping drive was beaten out by Elliott Morris, but Noble was first to react and he tapped in.
United's task of nicking their first away win of the season suffered a huge blow three minutes before half-time when Brush came rushing off his line to haul down the fast-raiding Allen.
Newtownabbey referee McNabb had no hesitation in producing the red card, even though there appeared to be covering defenders, and the Mallards were down to 10 men. From the resulting free-kick, James McKenna, who took over from Brush, produced a smart save.
The visitors almost struck again on the hour when Garrett's clumsy challenge flattened McIlwaine. Kee whipped in a great free-kick that was met by Ryan Curran, whose header cannoned off the top of the crossbar.
But the numerical advantage finally told on 68 minutes when Garrett climbed above everyone else to meet a corner from Alex O'Hanlon.
Allen secured the much-needed win for the Glens eight minutes from time, after which Kee picked up his second booking.
Glentoran boss Gary Haveron said: "It would have been a travesty if we hadn't won that game. Ballinamallard were probably unfortunate to have the goalkeeper sent off, but I thought we dominated even before that.
"Had we been a little more clinical, the score would have been much more comprehensive. But I'm thrilled with the win."