It took three matches but Ballinamallard finally have a score line that mirrors their efforts on the pitch.

In the opening games against Knockbreda and Dergview manager Harry McConkey was left to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as his side failed to turn some good performances into goals and points.

That wastefulness was still in evidence, but Ryan Campbell produced one moment of quality in front of goal to earn his team three points and secure their first win of the campaign.

“The overriding emotion was relief,” admitted Harry.

“We played so much quality football. In the first half we had 10 shots on target and in the second half we had 10 more on target, yet we only had one goal to show for it. Their goalkeeper got man of the match and there were situations where maybe we could have done a little bit better with our finishing, but the goal we got was a wonderful team goal.

“What pleased me the most was the build-up play and the execution of the finish. It was everything that we had been hoping for in the other games to finish off the quality of our build up play. It was no more than we deserved but in the last few minutes the referee added five minutes of injury time and their goalkeeper was being thrown forward for every corner kick.

“We had worked on Thursday night on trying to learn from the Dergview game and how we had to defend our box better, and it was brilliant to see the boys go through that and survive.

“In fairness to Matthew Tipton and his backroom team at the end of the match they had no complaints and said that we were deserving of it.”

While Ballinamallard came into the game winless, Portadown had thrashed Ballyclare earlier in the week. Despite the contrast in recent results, Harry felt the recent score lines could work in their favour.

“I felt that was a good result for us in a perverse way,” said Harry.

“The highlights of the game showed me Ballyclare were able to expose their back four but didn’t finish it, and I felt there would always be chances there. We changed some personnel for fresh legs but we stuck with our back four who had done exceptionally well.

“Portadown have pace in the wide areas and played a lot of diagonals so we blocked that up with our back four as opposed to a three.

“Ballyclare were very loose in defence and there was the possibility that Portadown would come into our match thinking we had lost two matches and it was a case of just turning up and doing the same again, but we proved to be a very different opponent. Despite our results we stayed focused.”

The one negative from the game was the early loss of Richard Clarke to injury, who is likely to miss out on Saturday.

“Clarkey took a bang on Tuesday night but said he felt 100 percent, but he blocked the ball and felt a tweak in his knee that was obviously still a little bit raw,” explained Harry.

“He will struggle for this week. We will know better by Thursday night but we didn’t take any risks with it. We knew we didn’t have to because it is going to take all the squad throughout the season to make a real strong effort to maximise the quality of the entire panel.

“Dwayne McManus came on and showed his maturity and great quality in retaining the ball.”

Saturday’s Ferney Park clash against Ards is another match that brings back memories of recent Premier League matches, and Harry believes it is an ideal game to come on the back of their Portadown success.

“I think it’s a great game for us but that Portadown result means nothing if we don’t build on it,” he said.

“We are at home to a very good Ards team. Newry beat them 3-0 which was a convincing win and I hope that plants a bit of doubt in them but they will be up for the game and won’t be complacent.

“We want more of the same. The same energy and the same quality of our play, but we will always be striving for better finishing in the box.”