Whitey Anderson admitted he heaved a sigh of relief when the news reached him that only one team would be relegated from the Premiership this season.
It meant that Saturday’s trip to fellow strugglers Warrenpoint Town has been reduced from a possible relegation showdown to a stroll in the sun for both clubs.
The complexities of the promotion and relegation format within the Northern Ireland Football League system means the pressure is off, with only Ards now facing the chop, either through automatic demotion or a play-off.
This is because Bangor are guaranteed a top two spot in Championship One, but they will not be promoted because they didn’t apply for a UEFA licence.
“I am delighted for everyone at the football club that we will be in the Premier League next season,” said a relieved Anderson. “The chairman, the committee, the sponsors and the supporters have all been tremendous, but in particular the players.
“It has been a tough season for them and they have kept working hard throughout, especially this last six weeks. We have been unbeaten in the last five games, yet still find ourselves in the bottom two, but we have knuckled down and got results and those points were very important in not getting automatically relegated.
“We applied ourselves and did certain things in training to get back to basics in terms of our defending and we have found ourselves safe as a result of that.
“The reality is that for everybody it has been tough and there has been a certain amount of pressure, but now that has been lifted I’m just delighted for everyone involved.”
Ballinamallard battled out a 2-2 draw with Dungannon in their last outing, which left Anderson with mixed emotions.
“The pleasing thing was that we scored two very good goals from open play but the disappointing thing was that we conceded two from set plays,” he added.
“We haven’t conceded a goal from open play in the last three games and I thought on the balance of things we deserved the win. With the relegation pressure off, we can now afford to play with a bit of freedom at Warrenpoint.”