Ballinamallard suffered a third successive loss in their post split fixtures when they went down 2-1 to Carrick Rangers at Ferney Park on Saturday.

The Ducks had beaten the same opposition five days earlier in the Irish Cup but it was second placed Carrick who were to claim the league spoils on offer on Saturday.

Mallards boss Harry McConkey though felt that his side deserved to take something out of the game.

The Ducks boss admitted that they were fortunate to go in at the break leading, Ryan Campbell having put them ahead, before two quickfire goals for the visitors in the second half put them 2-1 in front. The response after that though pleased McConkey and they were twice denied in the last minute as it finished 1-2.

“I think we were worthy a point,” said McConkey.

“We were fortunate to go in 1-0 at half time, although while we were guilty of giving the ball away, we were handling them out of possession and we were able to cope with what they were offering in the first half.

“We said at half time that ‘now we are in a position where we are 1-0 up and if we can get a second goal and retain the ball we should be able to push on.’

“It was disappointing then to concede two quick goals and their second one was from a penalty which was given for handball but having watched it back the ball was out of play before it hit Chris Kelly’s hand which is frustrating.

“But when we went 2-1 down I think we added a wee bit of spice with Sam Robb and Robbie Hume coming in. We caused them problems after that but the frustrating thing for me is that the urgency in our play didn’t come until that.,” he said.

McConkey was delighted though with how his side finished the game.

“The boys made a real brave effort after that, they kept going to the end.

“I thought we had two strong penalty shouts in the second half that weren’t given and it was unfortunate at the death that Robbie has had an effort saved by the goalkeeper and Ross’ follow up is cleared off the line.

“That was a great opportunity for us to give everybody a boost. It was disappointing to lose but it was also pleasing that this was a side second in the table and we were still there able to fight with them and to be disappointed to come with without anything is a good sign,” he added.

Third placed Portadown are the visitors to Ferney Park this Saturday and McConkey is expecting another tough test.

“Portadown are in a pretty good place at the minute. They have strengthened and they have brought real firepower up front, in Aaron Duke who has come in for them.

“They have strengthened the whole spine of their team since the last time we played them.

“They have a formidable side and although they were inconsistent in their results before Christmas, since then they have kicked on.

“It is going to be a big test, I know Matthew Tipton has his full focus on getting his team right back up there and with the budget they have that is probably a fair enough objective,” said McConkey.

Getting that first win in the post split fixtures will be an obvious goal for McConkey and he wants to build some momentum over the remainder of the season.

“We want to get some momentum and we want to get some consistency in our performance. We are also realistic in the opposition we are facing but what we want is to get another brave performance from the boys,” he added.