Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey was glad see his side finally find their goal scoring touch. After only scoring twice in their first four games, the Mallards finally burst into life in front of goal, netting five times on their way to a commanding victory over Ballyclare.

“I was delighted for the group because we have worked hard for the last couple of weeks,” said McConkey.

“I didn’t want to put too much panic into them about missing chances in front of goal, but we have worked on it in training and I’m delighted they have got that feeling of hitting the back of the net. It is lovely to get five goals at home and give our supporters something to cheer and applaud.

“It was a good day’s work. I wanted the team to build on the points we had got since Portadown, and that is now seven out of nine which is healthier in the boy’s minds as well going forward.”

Despite the convincing look to the score line the manager admitted that in the early stages of the contest it could have swung either way, with Dwayne McManus’ header off his own goal line in the opening minute the first of a number of chances for the visitors.

“No-one will be fooled by the fact that we were vulnerable in the first half,” he acknowledged.

“We got away with situations and on another day if the opposition puts their opportunities away it could have been a very different score line. At half time we knew there were areas we needed to look at, and the boys took that on board. That is one thing about this group. They are very good at listening and trying to carry out what you ask of them. There are days when things go against them but they never stop wanting to learn and that has been one of the most pleasing things. They do put a lot of effort into their game.”

Ballinamallard had adopted a different set up as they looked to maximize the threat posed by the attacking quartet of Nathan Cashel, Sean McEvoy, Josh McIlwaine and Ryan Campbell.

Ballyclare went into the game having scored 16 and conceded two in their last three matches, but McConkey was keen to test out their back line having seen them concede five in a previous league game this season.

“I went 4-4-2 which I don’t think we have used in my time as manager, but we wanted to use the front four,” explained Harry.

“We had the threat from Nathan’s pace on the left and Sean’s pace on the right and Rocket and McIlwaine up front. Nathan provided a great assist, Rocket got his hat-trick, Sean scored his goal as did big Josh. We got that joy up there in the end.

“I thought Ballyclare showed a great energy and I could see how they had beaten Welders by eight and scored goals for fun, but we saw the other side of their game. When you play that expansive game, as we have found, you can leave yourself open to a heavy defeat.”

A trip to Harland and Wolff Welders is the next challenge for the Mallards, and although the Belfast venue is not a happy hunting ground for the Ducks, Harry is hopeful they can extend their run of three league games without defeat.

“On their own patch they are very difficult to beat,” he acknowledged.

“It’s a very narrow pitch with not a lot of space on it. The surface of the pitch can be difficult, and last season we lost both games up there. In both games we played well for a large percentage of the game, but they are a dangerous team with their set plays and their physicality and it is that that we have to combat. We need to keep our composure where we can, and hopefully those few goals have given us confidence without ever getting carried away.

“We have to come out of the blocks with real purpose like we did against Portadown, and try to put them on the back foot because I believe that we do have a threat. I think we must stay in the game early and grow in confidence, and hopefully get a breakthrough.”

Captain Richard Clarke remains doubtful for the clash, with Nathan Cashel and Chris Kelly both nursing injuries but hopeful of being in contention. Ben McCann should be fully recovered and available for selection.