Ballinamallard captain James McKenna is a versatile player, as comfortable at centre half as he is in midfield. However, there is no way that he expected to find himself pulling on the goalkeeper’s jersey as Ballinamallard went down 2-1 to Glentoran at the Oval on Tuesday night.
McKenna pulled on the gloves just before half time with the Ducks leading 1-0 after Richard Brush was red carded by referee Ian McNabb for a foul outside the box on Curtis Allen. 
The decision infuriated the Mallards and McKenna was in no doubt that it was the wrong call by the official and changed the course of the contest.
“I couldn’t believe it when he brought out a red card. I seen the incident and I thought there was no danger because there was two back behind the ball and whether he even made contact was questionable but certainly there was men behind the ball so it was never, ever a red card.
“That’s the turning point of the game. We weren’t even playing that well but we had a good shape and we were in the lead and they never really threatened us.
“It is hard enough going down to ten men but when you go down to ten men and it’s your goalkeeper and you don’t have a goalkeeper on the bench, it kills you,” he said.
The Mallards skipper took over between the posts and he admits that it was a much more daunting task than he ever imagined.
“The thought of going in goals is actually better than the reality of it. You think that you are in a no lose situation because if you do well, you do well, but if you don’t do well then it’s fine because you are not a goalkeeper but it is a lonely place when you are standing in there and they are firing balls into the box and you don’t know whether to come or stay.
“In fairness our defence did well and I had only one real save to make. I should have done better for the first goal but the second one I couldn’t have done anything about it. 
“It’s difficult on the boys because if Brushie is still in goals he would be kicking up 30 yards further up the pitch to get you out and then you also have the extra man out the pitch as well,” he added.
However, McKenna is adamant that the Mallards will climb off the foot of the table before the end of the season with the injection of six players in January giving the squad a whole new look.
“With the new players we are a different team, and you can see that confidence wise and the buzz about the place. Yes, it is disappointing tonight but in general if you take the month of January and the start of February there has been nothing but positivity in the group. There may have been doubts before among certain players about whether we could catch the teams above us but there is not one person in that changing room now who feels in any way that we are going to finish bottom of this league. We are too good to finish bottom and we just have to get the points on the board now. We can have no more excuses we have to win games and start taking the three points,” he said.