IRISH LEAGUE: Ballymena get back to winning ways against Ballinamallard
Ballymena United 4 Ballinamallard United 0
Ballymena United got back to winning ways as they saw off the challenge of Ballinamallard United 4-0 at the Showgrounds on Saturday.
After defeats to Glenavon and Ards the Sky Blues got the much needed victory thanks to two strikes from Johnny McMurray and one apiece from Denver Gage and Cathair Friel.
It was a good performance from the Sky Blues but Ballinamallard will be disappointed with the result after battling hard for the 90 minutes.
Ballymena started brightly and after a good spell Johnny McMurray blazed over from close range - but it was the sign of things to come.
Ballinamallard had a good chance through Johnny Lafferty but his header was just wide.
Moments later Adam Lecky went on a run but his shot was saved by Sky Blues keeper Ross Glendinning.
The home side then had a chance through Denver Gage but his header was tipped over by James McGrath in the Mallards goal.
It was 1-0 to Ballymena in the 32nd minute as Cathair Friel’s cross found McMurray and he headed home. It was a good finish from the striker.
A minute later it could have been 1-1 but defender Johnny Flynn cleared off the line from Ryan Mayse with keeper Glendinning beaten.
Mayse had another chance moments later but his effort was saved by Glendinning and then cleared by the United defence.
Three minutes into the second half it was 2-0. Tony Kane’s corner headed home with purpose by Gage.
The visitors day got a whole lot worse a minute later as Friel’s cross found McMurray and he rifled home his second of the afternoon.
McMurray was then denied his hat-trick in the 56th minute as McGrath did well to save his effort.
Ballinamallard had a great chance in the 6oth minute but Johnny Lafferty’s shot went the wrong side of the United post with Glendinning scrambling.
It was 4-0 for United in the 68th minute as Friel sprinted clear and rocketed his shot off the post and into the net.
It was his 11th goal in 17 appearances for the Sky Blues. And McMurray had now scored eight, so between them they have scored 19 goals for David Jeffrey’s side this season.
Ballinamalllard had a chance in the 73rd minute but Shane McGinty’s long range effort was well saved by Glendinning.
Ballymena United: Glendinning, T.Kane, McBride, Owens, Flynn, Gage, Jenkins, Faulkner, Friel, Ervin, McMurray
Subs: McAuley, Henderson, McCloskey, E.Kane, Loughran.
Ballinamallard United: McGrath, McMenamin, Taheny, Feeney, McCabe, McGinty, Lafferty, McCartney, McConnell, Lecky, Mayse.
Subs: McCusker, McIlwaine, Frempong, Cadden, McCann.
Ref: R Dunlop