Mallards strengthen squad following Crues defeat.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Mallards strengthen squad following Crues defeat. thumbnailBallinamallard United manager Gavin Dykes has added players to his squad as they face a relagtion battle.

CRUSADERS moved above Coleraine and into top spot thanks to this win over bottom side Ballinamallard.


Jordan Forsythe's superb volley put the Crues in front in the second-half and a Matthew Smyth own-goal doubled their lead on a heavy Ferney Park surface.

Billy Joe Burns drilled in the third goal to seal a deserved win which takes the Crues a point clear at the summit.

The hosts had keeper Richard Brush to thank for ensuring it remained scoreless at the break as he pulled off a string of fine saves.

Crusaders were also wasteful with Paul Heatley going clear but dragging his shot well wide.

The north Belfast side continued to dominate on the restart and after twice going close they made it the breakthrough in style.

It was a brilliant piece of quality from Forsythe, with the midfielder's looping 25-yard volley hitting the post before going in.

Ballinamallard battled hard but they were being outclassed, with Ben McCann heading against his own bar before a slice of luck saw the Crues to go 2-0 in front.

Heatley rifled the ball across goal and Matthew Smyth's attempted clearance diverted the ball into his own net.

Another classy strike sealed the three points as Billy Joe Burns followed up his cracker against Linfield on Saturday by drilling a half-volley past Brush.

Stephen Baxter's in-form team made it 12 wins and a draw in their last 13 league games while the Mallards remain five points adrift at the bottom.

Ballinamallard United boss Gavin Dykes identified the attacking department as an area for improvement, and he has bolstered the squad by signing Donegal Celtic and former Ballinamallard striker Stephen O'Flynn.

Crusaders defender Michael Kerr has also joined the club on loan.

"They're [Crusaders] a good side, and we probably didn't hurt them enough," said Dykes after the game. "We are a bit lacking up front, and we'll be getting a few bodies that will strengthen us up there, and hopefully we can start scoring goals.

"When you're down there things start going against you a wee bit, and you can feel sorry for yourself, but that won't happen and we'll keep at it and keep going."

Ballinamallard will be hoping to pick up a win in the Irish Cup this weekend when they take on Belfast side Immaculata, before hosting Glentoran in the league the following weekend.

"We've a huge couple of weeks coming up again now, we have to get ourselves back at it.

Big week in the cup, we want to try and progress in that, and hopefully pick up some points." Last Friday night, an 83rd-minute equaliser gave the Mallards a 2-2 away draw with fellow relegation battlers Carrick Rangers.

James McKenna blasted the visitors ahead before a half-time altercation led to both managers being sent off.

Carrick hit back on the restart and moved in front with headed finishes from Michael Smith and Denver Gage before McKenna earned a point.


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