Ballinamallard United began their pre-season programme with a disappointing 4-1 defeat away to Annagh United on Tuesday night.

Ducks boss Harry McConkey played 22 players over the course of the 90 minutes and he felt that the game was a reality check for his squad.

“It was a wake up call and if ever they needed to be grounded after the romance of last year then this was the perfect punch to take,” said McConkey, who felt his side were not good enough in either box.

“We were too wasteful in their box and not aggressive enough in our own box and I also felt that they bullied us last night, both off the ball and on the ball, but that is perfect practise for our players.

“Overall the result was very disappointing but for us it was session nine of the season and as a coach or a manager you have to grab everything possible out of it even if it is not the result,” he stated.

The Mallards had started the game slowly and fell behind although there was more than a touch of offside with the goal.

The Blues did create a number of good chances of their own in the opening period but Ryan Campbell, Nathan Cashel and Sean McEvoy, who impressed in the middle of the park, all had efforts but failed to beat the goalkeeper.

Annagh doubled their lead before half time and McConkey rang the changes in the second half with Chris Kelly coming in and helping things in the centre of the park.

Further chances though went begging for Ballinamallard while Annagh were more clinical with theirs as they struck twice more to go 4-0 up.

McConkey finished the game with a young looking line up as Dean Corrigan and Josh Largo Elis formed the pairing in the centre of the defence, with both catching the eye.

Alex Holder put in a good showing at midfield while further forward the introduction of Darragh McBrien gave another dimension to the Ballinamallard attack alongside Sam Robb and Lee Frazer.

McBrien fired home a superb 25 yard strike and also went close with a well struck free kick.

“We have to keep things in perspective, we had a number of positives to take out of the game as well. I thought some of the younger players who came in were excellent and it was good to have created so many chances even if we didn’t take them.” Next up for Ballinamallard is a meeting with Institute at the Brandywell this Saturday at 2pm.

“That should be a really good test for us as they have started pre-season very well,” said McConkey.

While McConkey is currently running his eye over a number of players during pre-season he is also hoping to bring in a few others before the window closes although he stresses that at this stage it is about quality not quantity.

“We are keeping our options open but we know that we are a club that has to live within it’s means and that has been made clear.

“It is not a numbers game for us now, it is a case of one or two and if I can add to the quality of the group that’s what I will be aspiring to do. If we can or not only time will tell,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a youthful Mallards side recorded a 6-3 win over Ardstraw on Monday evening.

Pearce Goan (2), Lorcan McGrady, John Edgar, Alex Holder and Lee Fraser netted for the Ducks on the night.

There was promising performances in the game from newcomers Holder, Fraser and Brendan Lilley while Dean Corrigan put in a solid 90 minutes at the heart of the defence having returned from Dundee.