Portadown bound Niall Currie was forced to watch Ards from the terraces, as John Bailie took temporary charge of the Red and Blues.
Currie remains the Ards manager for the time being, with North Down club and Portadown haggling over compensation. Currie and his assistant Jay Willis certainly witnessed a great spectacle, as Ards equalised three times to claim a 3-3 draw despite Adam Lecky’s hat-trick.
Ards had a chance to take the lead within the opening 20 seconds when Joe McKinney cut through the Ballinamallard defence, but James McGrath saved comfortably.
Ards had the best chance of the half in the 39th minute when marauding centre-back Francis Brennan popped up at the back post, but his header hit the inside of the far post and the danger was cleared.
The Mallards grabbed the lead in the 49th minute when Adam Lecky burst past the Ards defence and rifled the ball high into Aaron Hogg’s net.
Ards levelled in the 52nd minute. McKinney cut the ball into the Ards box, where Craig McMillen drilled a shot towards goal. McGrath parried the shot and McMillen reacted quickly to turn the ball home from a tight angle.
Ballinamallard regained the lead 60 seconds later with Lecky on hand to turn the ball into the net from 10 yards.
Incredibly, Ards equalised again in the 12th minute of the new half. An in-swinging McMillen corner was bundled home at the back post by the Emmet Friars.
Adam Leckey completed his 14 minute hat-trick six minutes later. Ards keeper Hogg dropped a simple cross allowing the former Dergview man to poke home.
Ards equalised for a third time in the 68th minute. Ross Taheny tripped Joe McKinney inside the area, which allowed substitute Michael Ruddy to stroke home spot-kick.
Ards: Hogg; Hall, Taylor, Brennan (65 Ruddy), Friars, McMilen; McCullough, Cherry (80 Arthurs); McKinney, McAllister; Douglas (65 Liggett)
Subs Not Used: Byers, Tommons
Ballinamallard United: McGrath; McMenamin, Taheny, Feeney, Elliott; McKenna, McCartney (84 Owens), Lafferty, McGinty; Mayse, Lecky
Subs Not Used: McCusker, McIlwaine, Crilly, Frempong
Ref: Ian McNabb