Match Report: BUFC 1 – 6 Aquinas FC

NAFL Div 1B new boys Aquinas visited The Millbridge for the last of our midweek start of season fixtures. The visitors were fresh off the back of an 8-0 victory vs fellow 1B side Dundonald in the Steel & Son’s Cup.

At The Millbridge, the sun shone down during the warm ups and the rain that caused havoc earlier in the day didn’t appear too much throughout the duration of the game.

The Home Side started off well and caused the visitors some early problems on the wet grass. Ross Murray looked dangerous on the right but his tame effort was stopped easily by the Aquinas goalkeeper. The United front three worked hard and looked threatening anytime they went forward, fed by those behind them.

But it was the away team who finally broke the deadlock. Halfway through the first half, Aquinas had a corner cleared but the clearance was only returned wide to the original set piece taker. With room to turn and pick his cross, he found a free black and blue shirt arriving at the back post to make it 1-0 and bruise the confidence of the United side.

Not long after, Aquinas were able to double their lead. Ballynahinch should have been awarded a free kick, but the referee allowed play to continue and Aquinas capitalised. They broke beyond the midfield and slotted home from 25 yards leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.

The half finished 2-0 and both teams trudged back in to the changing rooms to recharge and regroup.

The second half started well for United, with the home team on the front foot again. Unfortunately it didn’t last long and Aquinas took a rare chance and nicked a third.

Ballynahinch began to struggle with injuries and fitness in the final half hour. A gruelling work out vs Crewe United a few days before, and 5 games in 10 days for some of the squad began to take it’s toll. The changed red kit began to look like the Walking Dead.

However, coming off the bench, Gareth Bingham scored the best goal of the game. The veteran forward weaved between two defenders and picked out the top corner from outside the box to make it 4 – 1. Top Bins. Top Bings. But it was too late for BUFC to mount a comeback.

Another soft goal and a defensive mix up led to Aquinas’ 5th and 6th in the last few minutes to put the game beyond doubt. The referee soon called for full time.

A disappointing finish and a flattering scoreline, but United will regroup and look to pick up more points in their next league fixture. They return to The Millbridge on 24 August to face Mossley.

Round up

Ballynahinch United 1 – 6 Aquinas FC

Goalscorer: Gareth Bingham
Competition: NAFL Division 1B
Ground: The Millbridge,

Match Report: Crewe United 9 – 0 BUFC

Ballynahinch United travelled to Crewe Park, Glenavy in the first roynd of the Steel & Sons Cup. The winners of the tie would face either East Belfast or Bangor FC in the next round.

Before the game both sides lined the centre circle for a minutes silence to pay respects to former Crewe United player and manager, Tommy Breslin.

The place where Tommy Breslin learnt his trade as a boy and hung up the boots as man.

An early goal gave Crewe the initiative and set them on their way to a comfortable victory.

The Ballynahinch team were simply no match for the pace, power and movement of an excellent Crewe team that will go far in leagues and cups this campaign.

The weather reflected the game perfectly, goals rained in from all angles for the Crewe sides. Ballynahinch worked hard and wont be the only team to suffer a heavy defeat to this opposition, in fact, they have already won 7 – 0 this season. 

Round up

Crewe United 9 – 0 Ballynahinch United

Competition:Steel & Sons Cup
Round 1
Ground:Crewe Park,

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 1 – 1 Portaferry Rovers

Ballynahinch United welcomed Portaferry Rovers to The Millbridge for the opening game of the Northern Amateur Football League Division 1B season.

Rain sprinkled over the freshly cut grass as teams prepared for kick-off. But it didn’t put off the spectators as fans from both sides lined the perimeter of the pitch, eagerly anticipating the start of the new season.

Portaferry, dressed in orange and black, got the ball rolling and the season underway. Ballynahinch United started slowly and seemed unable to find their feet, while Portaferry took control of the game in the opening minutes. They attacked the Ballynahinch end but were unable to convert their early chances.

United were soon able to pull themselves together and began to play some good flowing football on the slick pitch with debutant Ryan Blaney pulling the strings and newly appointed Club Captain Gary Murray marshaling the back line for the home team.

The hosts were able to create some chances of their own. Youngster Jonny Shannon found himself wide right and easily beat his opponent before hitting an early cross into the area. The cross looped towards unmarked striker Ian McMullan who headed the ball back across goal but was unable to find the target. It gave the home team hope as they continued to press forward and put their visitors under more and more pressure.

Not long after, Niall Tyndall, another ‘hinch debutant, collected a Portaferry corner and quickly got his team on the counter. His long ball drifted over the head of Ian McMullan who was able to stretch and get a touch on the ball but was unable to bring it under control. The ball landed at the feet of a Portaferry defender who attempted to pass back to his ‘keeper. But the pass was underhit. Spotting his opportunity, Alex Burtney made a dash towards the ball and was able to nip in ahead of the goalkeeper and sent the flying winger tumbling to the ground in the area. Penalty!

Burtney, our top goalscorer last season, dusted himself off and stepped up to hit the penalty. He made no mistake and opened the scoring with a sweetly struck penalty, grabbing his first goal of the season in the process.

1 – 0 United

Portaferry made for the United goal after restarting the game and came close to equalising immediately, but the Blue defence stood firm and were able to maintain their clean sheet.

Ballynahinch still created chances of their own, Gary Murray played a short free kick to Ian McMullan. He laid the ball back to his team mate who hit an audacious drive from 35 yards out that sent the ‘keeper scrambling but just drifted over the bar.

Portaferry continued to threatened and nearly grabbed the equaliser from a corner but their header skimmed the crossbar just before the end of the half. The referee’s whistle soon signalled for half-time.

Both teams returned, with Ballynahinch getting the second half underway. The home team now shooting towards the clubhouse but Portaferry threatened further. The visitors looked dangerous from set-pieces all day and were certain to finally convert one.

An corner was drilled in from the right towards a mass of players and found the head of a rising Rovers attacker. The header bulleted past the United keeper who had been left with no chance.

1 – 1

Both teams continued to battle valiantly with hard work and strong tackling that resulted in a number of yellow cards being flashed by the referee but overall the game stayed clean. Corey Davis came off the bench to make his debut for United, replacing Dylan Fitzpatrick in defence.

Gareth Bingham and Graeme McMullan came on near the end to see the game out. Both sides created chances in the second half to win the game but neither were able to convert and take maximum points from the opening fixture.

Round up

Ballynahinch United 1 – 1 Portaferry Rovers

Goalscorer:Alex Burtney
Competition:NAFL Division 1B
Ground:The Millbridge

Cup Draws – Our Fixtures

We now know our opponents in the early rounds of the cup draws for:

  • Toals Steel & Sons Cup,
  • Border Regt. Cup and
  • The Tennent’s Irish Cup.

Steel & Sons Cup Draws

We will play Crewe United on Saturday 10 August at 2.30pm in the Toals Steel & Sons Cup, First Round. The tie will be played at Crewe Park.

On 2 July, the Second Round ties were also announced. The winners of our fixture against Crewe United will visit East Belfast FC or Bangor FC on 24 August at 2.30pm.

We’ve made it to the Second Round for six years in a row. Last season, we were knocked out of the Steel & Sons Cup in Round 2 when we lost 4-0 to St James’ Swifts at The Millbridge. While in 2013, we made it to Round 3 and lost to a strong Ballyclare Comrades side.

Border Regiment Cup

In the Border Regt Cup, we will play against NAFL Div 1B new boys, Aquinas FC.

We will play Aquinas FC on Saturday 31 August at Rathmore School and the match will kick off at 2pm.

In previous years, we have made it to the third round of the Border Cup, however in 1989/90, we won the winning the Amateur League’s Border Regiment Cup when the team beat British Telecom on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Tennent’s Irish Cup

Meanwhile, in the Tennent’s Irish Cup draw on 8 July, we were drawn another away tie – this time to Strabane FC on 17 August. Our kick off for Irish Cup games is at 1.30pm.

Our best run in the Irish Cup came in 2013 when we got to the 5th Round. On 9 January we traveled to the North Coast to face NIFL Premiership side, Coleraine FC. The score was 0-0 at half time, but finished 8-0 to the favourites. The aim will be to get to that stage again and further in the other Northern Ireland cup competitions.

We will keep you up to date on the next round of cup draws.