In a season that has started in disappointing fashion for Ballinamallard there has been one shining light at the heart of defence that has shown there is plenty of hope for the rest of the season.

Matty Smyth, a player with the football club running through his veins, has been the standout performer since his return to the club in the summer and has collected three man of the match awards from four home games.

The nineteen year old lives a stone’s throw from Ferney Park, and after a spell playing full time football in Scotland the central defender was welcomed back to his home town club by manager Gavin Dykes after he failed to secure a contract across the water.

“I’m enjoying it,” admitted Matty as he reflected on the first month of the season.

“I was at Dundee and I didn’t get my contract renewed. I went on a few trials but I didn’t get offered anything and it was getting late on in the window and I decided to come back home and make a go of it here.

“ I started off at Ballinamallard when I was six years old, and it was nice to come back.”

Despite enjoying home comforts Matty admits that in the long term his aim is to return to professional football and put behind him the disappointment of not having his contract renewed at Dundee at the end of last season.

“I thought I had done well over there,” he admitted.

“The first team manager that signed me got the sack with five games to go in the season. A new manager came in and I was out on loan to league two side Arbroath.

“I wasn’t playing for Dundee and the new manager had never really seen me play. He had to keep Dundee up and he was just focussed on the first team. At the end of the season he turned around and said ‘you are not going to be in my plans’.

“It kind of came as a shock, but that’s football isn’t it. I just had to pick myself up and go again. The goal now is to get back into full time football. Whether that is at the end of the season or maybe I will have to play another couple of seasons, but that is the goal.”

On a personal level Matty says he has been surprised and delighted with how quickly he has settled in to the team.

“I am happy with how I have been playing,” he said.

“I didn’t expect to come straight into the starting eleven to be honest. I didn’t do a lot of pre-season. I maybe did only two or three sessions and the team had already started training long before that, so I was in quite late.

“I think I have started well but it doesn’t really mean anything if the team is not winning.”

One point from the first six games has left Ballinamallard as the only top flight club without a win to their name, but despite sinking to the foot of the league table Matty is confident they can turn it around.

“I don’t think confidence is low,” he stated.

“We know where we are going wrong and we need to set about rectifying it. We all believe that we are good players and we have the talent in the changing room, and we just need to bring it out on to the pitch. We have been training really well but we need to show that in the matches.

“It’s definitely been a disappointing start to the season, especially with the group of players that we have. I think we have a lot of talent but we need to start picking up points along the way now. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.”