Ballinamallard Reserves 5

Glentoran Colts 4

A youthful Ballinamallard Reserves made it through to the second round of the Irish Junior Cup after a high scoring victory over Glentoran Colts. Ballinamallard opened up a two goal lead early in the game but found themselves behind early in the second half, before restoring their lead late in the match. Goals from Lee Frazer, John Currie and Conor Courtney and two from Reece Byrne were enough for a narrow win to ensure their progress.

“It was a deserved win but we made it hard for ourselves,” admitted manager Darren Higginbotham. “I was delighted to get through. From our perspective it is all about development and giving the boys opportunities and certainly there were lessons to be learnt. That is what we want to gain form this competition and we are very happy to be in the next round.

“It is a younger team than last year and although there is no real change in the quality, the one thing this team maybe lacks is experience. That is the reason we have entered the cup this year and from these games they learn plenty of good lessons. On Saturday we could have scored three in the first five minutes if we had taken our chances. That is a lesson for the boys, because we need to be ruthless. If we had taken even two of those chances in the first five minutes it could have been very different. The big positive from the day was the way the lads bounced back. We were 2-0 up and relatively comfortable and they scored just before half time and then scored two early goals in the second half, but to see the boys character to be able to bounce back and get the goals was once of the most pleasing aspects of the day.”

Ballinamallard spurned a host of early chances, but finally made the breakthrough in the tenth minute when Lorcan McGrady crossed for Reece Byrne to score from six yards. Byrne then turned provider to set up Lee Frazer who scored with a header and make it 2-0. Glentoran snatched one back before the break and then scored twice within the opening five minutes of the second half to take the lead for the first time. The Mallards responded well however with John Currie netting from a free kick from 25 yards, and Conor Courtney and Reece Byrne easing them ahead. Glentoran scored with the last kick of the game but it make no difference to the outcome with Ballinamallard progressing to the next round.