Stuart Hutchinson is hoping that Ballinamallard’s first win of the season will spark their season into life. 
The deserved 2-0 win over Carrick Rangers at Ferney Park on Saturday was the Mallards first win in eleven league matches, and Stuart admits it was a relief to finally register a victory. 
“There was a fair bit of relief,” he acknowledged. 
“I think with the performances over the past few weeks we knew it was coming. Against Ards I think we were the better team but we went down to ten men before half time and they got two late goals. 
“Against Linfield in the first half I thought we were good in possession but we just tired in the second half. I felt that the first win was coming and the performances were decent, so it was no big surprise for us.”
“We just needed to get that monkey off our back of the first win, and now that we have got it hopefully we can stick at it. We know it is only three points and we are still at the bottom but hopefully it will give us the confidence in ourselves to push on.”
A week before the victory over Carrick came a painful loss to Warrenpoint. 
That defeat caused manager Gavin Dykes to admit he was considering his position, but Stuart is delighted that the boss has now confirmed he will stay. 
“The playing staff are completely behind him,” he said. 
“He is one of the best managers I have ever played under and I myself fully support him and will continue to give 100 per cent to him. None of the players really believed he would go. He is really, really well liked by the squad and I think everyone is delighted to get the win and hopefully it takes a bit of the pressure off him.”
At the start of the season Stuart filled in on the right, but in recent weeks he has returned to a central midfield berth and he admits he feels much more comfortable in a central role. 
“I definitely prefer being in the middle,” he said. 
“I was out for about a month with a hamstring injury, but thankfully I have recovered from it now and I have been put in the centre of midfield which is my preferred position. 
“I feel fitness is coming back and hopefully performances will come with it. I just think I play better there and hopefully I can do enough to convince Gavin to keep me in there now.”
Stuart is starting to form a solid looking midfield partnership with Richard Clarke and Jonathan Leddy, and the trio were superb in Saturday’s victory. 
“Clarkey has been around the best clubs in the league and Leddy is a quality football. He was over at Ipswich when he was younger and you can tell looking at the two of them that they are brilliant on the ball. I’m sort of the work horse in there and those two do all the ball work.”
The three points is just the start for the Mallards and while there is still a long way to go, Stuart is hopeful they can pull clear of the relegation zone. 
“You have to be confident,” he said. 
“We have given ourselves an uphill task with the start to the season that we have but you have to have a bit of confidence in yourself, and looking at the squad, I think we have a really good squad there so hopefully we can get more results on board. Get a few more results on board and things will start to look a bit more promising.”
The next fixture could scarcely be more difficult, with Ballinamallard facing a trip to Crusaders on Friday. 
They are fresh from an impressive 5-2 victory away to reigning champions Linfield, but despite the size of the task facing them Stuart is hoping to spring a surprise. 
“It’s a tough one but you have to play them some time, and I suppose you might as well play them when you are full of confidence after a win. 
“We know it will be difficult match but we will get ourselves down to training this week and focus on the next games coming up ahead and pick up more points as we go along. It’s a tough league and there is a lot of good teams. Every game is going to be difficult but we just need to knuckle down and get a few results. 
“Travelling to Crusaders isn’t ideal obviously but we will try what we can to get a result up there.”