Ballinamallard Reserves are a point clear at the top of the IFA Reserve league following a super 3-0 win over Coleraine Reserves at Ferney Park on Saturday.

The competition for places among the highlfying first team undoubtedly helped and with the likes of Liam Martin and Conor O'Grady in the starting line-up, this was a strong team.

Indeed, it was Martin who perhaps made first team boss Whitey Anderson take up most notice, with a superb hat-trick which also helped the Mallards second string remain a point ahead of Glentoran at the top of the table.

The game was also notable for the collection of Ballinamallard fans cheering on their side in their santa suits as the backing for the team also enjoyed an audible boost from the sidelines.

Ballinamallard Reserve team manager, John Quinn was happy with the win.

"I thought 1-0 was a fair reflection at half time and we took our chances in the second half," explained John. "Coleraine had a strong side out and we created plenty of chances in the first half, but I suppose the difference was we took them in the second half. It is a good win and it keeps us a point ahead of Glentoran in second." Ballinamallard were on top from the off but they were not to get the breakthrough until just before the break. Prior to that, Martin had a couple of chances, one after a great, mazy run but he shot over while Darren Higginbotham also went close. Andy Little just missed when well well placed, had a goal disallowed and Martin had a shot saved as it looked as if it was going to be one of those days.

Moreover, Matty Quinn was a bit of a spectator for much of the opening half but when he was called into action before half time it proved to be a vital save as the Mallards took the lead soon after. Quinn did well to get down low and push a shot around the post.

Minutes later, Martin made it third time lucky with his chances when he Higginbotham was fouled in the box and he slotted home the penalty for 1-0 at the break.

The opening part of the second half was quite tight with little by way of chances and the next goal was always going to be vital.

And, it was the Mallards that got when Chris Crilly broke into the box and his shot was saved but Martin snapped up the rebound to double the home team's advantage.

Martin then completed his hat-trick to put the gloss on a deserved win as he again tapped in after the opposing keeper parried the ball this time from a Higginbotham shot.

Ballinamallard Reserves will now look forward to the second part of their debut season at this level and John would hope they can remain top of the pile.

"I suppose we did not know how it was going to turn out in our first season in the reserve league. It is great to be top and it would be great to win the league. A lot will depend I suppose on injuries in the first team and we also have the Intermediate Cup coming up in January and we would like to progress in a few rounds of that," concluded Quinn with much football to play and look forward to.