Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes has described last Friday night’s 6-4 win over Cliftonville as ‘a crazy game’ but one that he hopes will give his side the momentum to push on and climb off the bottom of the table.
The Mallards appeared to be home and hosed at 4-1 early in the second half only for the Reds to hit back quickly to make it 4-3. The home side again appeared to be in control when they went 5-3 up but once more Cliftonville replied, however, Johnny Leddy’s late lob made sure that the Mallards would claim all three points on offer.
“It was a crazy game,” said Dykes. 
“It was hard to watch and it was hard to be involved in as well. You are looking at probably our best attacking display of the whole season and then you are looking at 30 minutes of defensive madness. It could have ended up 8-8 if I’m truthful.
“We came in at half time leading 3-1 and within four minutes Curran puts a penalty away and it’s 4-1. 
“You would be expecting with the experience we have in the team that we would see that out but it didn’t happen an all of a sudden after 63 minutes it’s 4-3 and everybody is having a heart-attack. 
“There’s panic from everybody but we rally again and McKenna fires in a left footed effort to make it 5-3 and I’m thinking that’s it but, bang, it’s 5-4 and at that stage it could have gone anyway. 
“Leddy’s finish though topped off a very memorable night, what a goal, they were all quality goals. People definitely got value for money and it was a great advert for the league but If I’m being honest I would rather win 1-0 because games like Friday night’s aren’t good for your health!”
Dykes is hoping that this win can kick start their push for survival with the Mallards having now closed to within one point of Carrick at the foot of the table.
“I’m delighted to get three points, I think it gives us a bit of momentum again and we now have to go and push on.
“The dressing room is a different place now than it was three months ago. You look around now and there is a belief. The standard has gone up in training, the standard has gone up in matches in general. Look, we are not getting carried away, we are still bottom of the table and a point behind Carrick but hopefully we can now go and tag on a few more points,” he said.
The league takes a back seat on Saturday with the Mallards in cup action away to Ballymena but while Dykes is keen to progress he will also have one eye on next Tuesday night’s trip to the Oval to play Glentoran in the league.
“The Irish Cup is a big day out for everybody and I have a good enough squad now that we can go and compete with Ballymena on Saturday. Ballymena are a very good side but we are in a lot better a place going up there than we were the last time and we will put out a team to go out and win the match.
“We are also very aware though that we have a huge cup final in the league against Glentoran on Tuesday and our priority will always be safety in the league. There are a couple of lads who can’t play two games in such a short space of time and we will have to prioritise them.
“It is all about momentum now,” added Dykes.
Dykes also confirmed that Blaine Burns has left the club as he completed his January business with six new players.
“Blaine Burns has gone and I’m disappointed that he is leaving. I think he has improved since he came in and I was surprised when he came and said he wanted to leave but that’s football. I thought he done well for me but I can’t guarantee him football.
“There was also a possibility that I could have added one more but I have decided against it. I’m happy with the squad I now have,” he said.