Ten men Mallards earn share of the spoils
Ballymena Utd 1; Ballinamallard Utd 1
Ballinamallard bounced back from their defeat to Crusaders with a hard earned point after playing half the match against Ballymena with ten men. After taking an early lead through Steve Feeney they conceded an equaliser after 40 minutes and then had Jason McCartney sent off just before the half time whistle, but a determined second half performance ensured they maintained their third place in the Premiership league table.
With Davy Kee serving a suspension after an accumulation of yellow cards the manager was forced into a reshuffle in midfield. Mark McConkey returned from injury allowing his deputy at right back, Stuart Hutchinson, to move into the midfield. Andy Crawford was dropped to the bench with Steve Feeney replacing him. Ballymena went into the match on the back of an impressive run of home results. The County Antrim side had claimed maximum points in all three of their home fixtures this season and were on a 15 match unbeaten run in all competitions at the Showgrounds.
With Ballinamallard having just suffered their first league defeat in nearly two months they might have been expected to start in a hesitant mood, but it was the visitors who dominated the early possession and after 12 minutes they took the lead when Steve Feeney found the net with a powerful header from a Chris Curran cross. They continued to look the better side and played some good football, although Ballymena had a penalty claim waved away on 18 minutes.
Just after the half hour mark Alvin Rouse produced a great save from a Davidson shot, but he could do nothing to stop the equaliser eight minutes later when James McKenna was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area and Taggart dispatched the spot kick.
On the stroke of half time the game seemed to swing in Ballymena's favour when Jason McCartney was shown a red card. Steve Feeney was the victim of a bad foul on the touchline right in front of the dugouts and that sparked a scuffle involving players and coaching staff, which eventually resulted in McCartney's dismissal.
Despite being a man light in the second period it was Ballinamallard who created the first clear cut chance. Chris Curran cut inside from the right and slipped the ball to the in-form Ryan Campbell, but the goalkeeper saved his shot.
The visitors had a scare when Davidson found the net only to see his strike disallowed by a raised offside flag, but aside from that Ballinamallard defended resolutely and deprived the home side of the chance to grab all three points. Ballymena had Surgenor sent off in the closing moments to even up the numbers, but it is the Fermanagh side that left the pitch happier with the point.
Ballinamallard: Rouse, McConkey, Carters, Stafford, Keohane, Curran, Hutchinson, Feeney, McCartney, McKenna, Campbell. Subs: McGrath, Hill, O'Grady, Crawford, Martin.