In a tough season when few players have excelled for Ballinamallard there has been one stand out player who has received more man of the match awards than any other. 
Despite the Mallards poor defensive record, goalkeeper Richard Brush is one of the players that can claim to have boosted his reputation during the campaign, often performing heroics between the posts as he tried to stop wave after wave of attack. Despite being a front-runner for the club’s player of the season, he is critical of his own performances in recent games.
“I’d say maybe the last couple of weeks I have not been happy at all,” he revealed. 
“I had the sending off (against Glentoran) and it was harsh but it was a bad decision for me to come out that far. There is a few little bits and pieces that I haven’t been happy with, especially over the last few weeks. I was making saves when we getting beat four or five nil and it seems at times when we are in the game and 0-0 or maybe 1-0 down that I haven’t really stepped up to the plate. 
“It is easy to make the saves when you are getting turned over but it is games like Dungannon and Glentoran when we are in there and fighting I seem to feel my performance hasn’t been how it should be.”
He conceded two to Swifts on Saturday, but no blame could be attached to Brush for either of the second half goals that condemned them to another defeat, despite a bright opening that had seen them hit the woodwork twice in the early stages of the contest. 
“The intensity dropped and the communication dropped,” was Richard’s analysis of where things went wrong in the second half.
 “I think that was a big thing. Our communication in the first half was very good and we were well drilled and we created a few chances and were holding our own. The second half it was like we were a different team. Whether it was tiredness or what it was we are not too sure. We can’t quite put our finger on it, but the one thing we have to do is keep battling away. 
“We know the second half wasn’t good enough. We have to take the good out of the first half and kick on from that. It’s an old cliché but every game is a cup final for us now and we really need to kick on.”
The January transfer window brought a new look to the back line, with three defensive additions brought in by the manager. Richard admits it has been tough for the new arrivals. 
“We are looking to the new guys to try to steady the ship but it is a big ask to ask lads come in a blend together quickly,” he acknowledged. 
“It does take time to mould, especially when you are a defender that is coming into a team that is leaking goals. 
“Defensively we have obviously conceded a lot of goals of late but hopefully we can steady the ship a little bit. We didn’t really look like conceding against Dungannon until their first one went in, which was the disappointing thing. Then heads seemed to drop and we really can’t do that. 
“You look at the last couple of games we have played and except for the Glentoran one we have battled back from conceding, so it’s not that our heads go down. It’s time now to dig in deep. We have big characters in the changing room and we have a lot of lads we can turn to, including myself I think, and we need to really, really dig deep now.”
Ballinamallard have a free weekend before they face another crucial game, at home to Ards. 
Ards have endured a rocky run themselves of late, and Ballinamallard know they must make the most of their home advantage. “Every week is an opportunity,” said Richard. “We thought this week was an opportunity coming off the back of Dungannon’s cup final win with maybe a few of their lads spending the week enjoying themselves. With the timing of it and the way we have been scoring goals, we thought we could have got something out of it. We were looking at the next two games, Dungannon and Ards, and if we had taken four points we would have been very happy. Now we have to focus on Ards. In the first game we had against them this season we had the best of it, but they have beaten us twice this year, as most teams have, and they will be a tough nut to crack. When teams are beating you two times in a season you don’t take any game as an easier game.”