Two goals and a clean-sheet please Whitey
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Ballinamallard's goal scorer Jason McCartney salutes the Ballinamallard fans after his opening goal against Distillery as Danny Keohane joins in the celebrations.
Ballinamallard's manager Whitey Anderson and goal scorer Andy Crawford after the win over Distillery.
It has been a good festive period for Whitey Anderson and his Ballinamallard players as they maintained their sixth spot in the league following two wins and a defeat over the three games played.
With the Mallards returning from Lisburn with a 2-0 win on Tuesday and seventh placed Portadown losing to Crusaders, it leaves a six point gap in the race for a top six spot, a position that Anderson would have snatched your arm off if he had been offered it at the start of the season.
The games continue to come thick and fast with Ballinamallard travelling to Ballymena tomorrow (Friday) night for their next league game and with the Irish Cup clash against Cliftonville along with crucial league games against Coleraine, Glenavon and Portadown to follow, as well as the transfer window opening, January promises to be yet another big month for the Ferney Park club.
The manager is happy with their recent form.
"We have two wins out of three games over Christmas so that is very pleasing and over our last eight games we have recorded four clean-sheets," he said.
The four games that they didn't keep clean-sheets all ended in defeat but these were against not only the top four teams in the division but also the four highest scoring teams. Anyway, it has been at the other end of the pitch that Ballinamallard have been struggling more with, wasted chances having proved costly at times. However, despite misssing a few chances against Lisburn Distillery the Mallards netted twice in a minute, the first time in eight games that they had scored more than once, to secure the points.
"I think that overall we deserved to win. We entered with the mindset of taking the points and to have achieved that, and kept a clean-sheet as well was great. We knew it was important to win that game," commented Whitey. "We had the lionshare of the possession but once again wasted opportunities. They then started the second half well but we upped it with Liam Martin giving us more spark up front when he came on and we went on to get the two goals."
Anderson was pleased with the overall performance from his side with Leon Carters and Conor O'Grady in particular coming in for praise.
"I don't like to pick out individuals but I thought that Leon Carters was exceptional in the heart of the defence as he has been all over Christmas. And we have also had the big plus of the return of Conor O'Grady who was excellent. His quality, his range of passing and leadership skills will be very helpful to us in the coming months and I think that a lot of younger players could learn from the way he looks after himself."
And the Mallards boss is also delighted with the goals contribution from impressive midfielder Davy Kee in recent weeks.
"Keesy has three in four games and he was very good again against Lisburn Distillery in getting beyond their defence which is something we are looking for him to do more as we haven't been getting enough goals."
Also coming in for praise was the Ballinamallard support with Anderson likening them to a 12th man.
"The support have been incredible, they are like a 12th man for us. We have had good numbers following us and they are always singing and are really enjoying everything. It is something that we really appreciate," he stated.
Next up is Ballymena and Whitey is expecting a tough test for his outfit at the Showgrounds.
"Ballymena got a bit of a rest after their game was called off on Tuesday and they have also signed a couple of players so they will be fresh and it will be a difficult game. But our boys are in good form at the minute and if we could get a win out of the game then it would really push us on," he added.
The January transfer window is now open and Anderson is looking at the possibility of bringing in a couple of new faces while he is keen that nobody leaves the club.
"We'll just have to wait and see how things pan out over the next couple of weeks, we have a few things that we are looking at and we are also looking to build for next season. On players going out, you can never say never in this game but we're working hard to try and keep everybody at the club," he said.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 03 Jan 13