Harry McConkey was delighted to have kept his first clean sheet away from home in six months, as Ballinamallard’s recent revival continued with a point against PSNI. The Mallards have been leaking goals at a rate of two per game in the Championship this season, and Saturday’s shut out was the first for the club since McConkey’s first game in charge in March.

The manager believes it is another sign that the team are coming to terms with life in the Championship.

“It’s a match away from home where we haven’t conceded a goal, and it is good to get that under our belts,” he said. “We feel we are a more solid unit and we are beginning to realise that if it isn’t happening for us, the most important thing is that we don’t concede. I think that is pleasing.”

A Ryan Campbell shot off the underside of the crossbar was the closest Ballinamallard came to finding the net, but despite not scoring the manager was pleased how his team picked up the tempo after a slow start.

“I think a draw on the balance of play was probably a fair result,” he admitted. “I felt they had the better of the first half and we were stronger in the second. We didn’t play well in the first half and we were still in the game. We had a feeling we would get our chances, and we did in the end but unfortunately we didn’t take them. After my half time team talk I was happy with the response of the players. I was delighted with how we came out in the second half, and we saw that from them against Portadown as well. They are not prepared to lie down.”

The next visitors to Ferney Park are Dundela on Saturday. The Belfast side beat the Mallards 3-2 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, and they have been the surprise package in the Championship this season, holding second place after their promotion next season. Their performances away from home have included a 5-0 win at Carrick and a 4-0 victory at Portadown, and Harry is expecting a tough test. “Dundela have been causing a real stir with their away performances,” he acknowledged.

“Their away performances have been more outstanding than their home performances, and they will come to Ferney Park with pace in the wide areas. They are an exciting team and they will come with confidence. Yet again it is a great test for our boys and we are looking forward to getting the home crowd behind us. If we produce the first half that we did against PSNI I would be disappointed. For some reason we started a little bit flat and although we redeemed ourselves in the second half, I would like to think that we would start in a very positive manner against Dundela.”

The manager should have an almost full squad to choose from for the game, with only long term injury victim Darren Teague unavailable for selection. The game will be part of a double header at Ferney Park on Saturday, with the first team game followed by the Reserve’s Irish Junior Cup clash against Enniskillen Town.