Irish Premiership: Ballinamallard Utd 2-3 Ards

Ards extend unbeaten Premiership run to five games with late win at Ballinamallard

Ards extended their unbeaten run in the Premiership to five games as they snatched a 3-2 win at Ballinamallard.

The visitors showed persistence after being pegged back twice as Michael Ruddy headed in an 89th-minute winner.

After a poor first half, the game came to life as Matthew Shevlin put Ards ahead on 50 minutes before Gary Armstrong levelled seven minutes later.

Colm McLaughlin (76) seemed to have earned the Mallards a point after Kyle Cherry (73) netted before Ruddy struck.

The first half will not live long in the memory with Shevlin firing straight at Mallards keeper Cameron Crawford early on and a Niall Owens free-kick deflected just wide off Ruddy at the other end shortly before the break.

However, the second period was a totally different story as Shevlin's 50th-minute strike, after good work by Craig McMillen and Ruddy, started a goals rush.

Armstrong levelled with a powerful angled shot within seven minutes after being released by Ryan Curran and the Mallards were inches away from taking the lead two minutes later as the ball wouldn't fall kindly for Curran following Aaron Hogg's failure to hold a Shane McGinty shot.

Cherry restored Ards' lead as he nodded home a Carl McComb cross only for McLaughlin to quickly head a second Ballinamallard equaliser after a pointblank Curran shot had come back off the crossbar.

But Ballinamallard were undone a minute from time as Ruddy was left unmarked to head home a McMillen corner from close range.

Eighth-placed Ards' win extended their advantage over Glentoran in ninth spot to four points, with the sides meeting in their final Premiership game of the season next weekend.

The Glens will move to back within a point of Ards if they defeat relegated Portadown at the Oval on Saturday.

Victory next weekend could secure Ards a seventh-place finish in the table while Ballinamallard are guaranteed to finish 10th no matter what happens in their concluding game against Carrick Rangers.