Irish Premiership: Ballinamallard Utd 1-0 Crusaders

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Andy Crawford's goal gives Ballinamallard an opening day victory over Crusaders

Andy Crawford gave the Mallards a deserved win but he was later sent-off along with Crues defender Colin Coates.

The striker scored the only goal at Ferney Park on 13 minutes, latching on to Steve Feeney's header and sending a flashing shot into the bottom corner.

Ryan Campbell wasted two chances in two minutes to extend United's lead while Paul Heatley hit a post for Crusaders.

Crawford and Coates were shown straight red cards after clashing nine minutes from time.

Ballinamallard could have been three up within 15 minutes after Crawford netted from a free-kick.

Campbell saw his curling shot turned wide by keeper Yohann Lacroix and he then blazed over when well placed.

Crusaders rarely threatened although Heatley hit the woodwork from close range after 38 minutes, with Gary McCutcheon's follow-up strike cleared.

The Fermanagh side squandered the best opening in the second half when Crawford set up David Kee, but the midfielder's shot was kept out by Lacrois.

Both sides ended with 10 men after the dismissal of Crawford and Coates following their off-the-ball tussle.

"It was is a tremendous win, hard fought and a great start to the season," said Mallards boss Whitey Anderson.

"The game was a great advert for Irish League football and we keep pinching ourselves at what is happening down here."