United entertained Barn United from Carrickfergus at Millbridge on Saturday last in a league game. The visitors, although bottom of Division 1B have been on the up in recent weeks so United’s manager Glynn Robinson was taking nothing for granted and any concerns he had were soon confirmed. The visitors came out the strongest and it would be fair to say that they were the dominant team and thoroughly deserved their interval 1-0 lead. They had scored from the penalty spot on the half hour mark when Alastair Coburn had brought down a forward as he weaved his way through the penalty area. United’s goal scoring opportunities were minimal except for a Daniel Rice effort that was well saved with Gavin Crawford putting the rebound wide.
A completely different United team came out for the second half as they chased an equaliser with Barn proving to be dangerous on the break. Lee Martin on his return from injury was introduced and manager Glynn Robinson took the gamble of bringing on a semi fit Gary Murray into the centre of defence with Scot Brashaw moving into central midfield to work alongside Gavin Crawford, Jack Davis, Ben Wilson and Alex Burtney.
That proved to be a masterstroke as United became even more dominant and in the 70th minute a touch of brilliance from Lee Martin brought the equaliser. The chance came when Brashaw blocked a pass on the half way line and surged toward goal before passing to the right wing to Martin. The teenager surged into the penalty area and despite being dispossessed by a defender he won the ball back before sending a fierce shot into the net. United’s ascendency was reduced marginally as Murray was withdrawn to ensure he did not aggravate his injury with Brashaw returning to his defensive position alongside Gregg Allison, Stuart McMullan and Alan Patterson.
Barn came back into the game and almost went ahead after 75 minutes however an exceptional double save by Coburn came to his teams rescue. Davis went into central midfield and became much more prominent in the closing quarter providing passes for Allison and Owen O’Neill on the right and Burtney or Stuart McMullan on the left while Ian McMullan chased every ball. It would be his perseverance that led to United winning the game but in quite bizarre circumstances.
As the game entered injury time Ian McMullan chased a through ball however the Barn goalkeeper came out and collected the ball. Unbelievably the keeper pushed the ball into McMullan’s face and he was sent off by the referee who was left with no option but to award a penalty. Absolute mayhem followed and it took six minutes until the referee was able to calm things down for Alan Patterson to slot home the penalty despite a valiant effort to save it by the stand in keeper. The referee blew the final whistle as soon as the game restarted perhaps fearing some indiscipline which sadly proved to be the case. United will have considered themselves extremely fortunate to gain all three points welcome while a moment of madness led to Barn missing out on the point they deserved. This week travel to Dromara Village for a league game.
Intermediate Cup Round 1
Ballynahinch United fresh from their 50th anniversary dinner the previous night were perhaps not surprisingly a little jaded for this game and this showed in the first half when they found themselves 1 – 0 down.
In the second half there was a much improved performance as they laid siege to the Seapatrick goal with wave after wave of attack. The visitors held on to late in the second half with veteran goalkeeper Alan Blackwood who played for United in the 1997 Clarence Cup Final in excellent form. United’s equaliser came from Gregg Allison whose powerful shot from outside the penalty area flew into the net. United were now on the ascendency but they took their eye of the game immediately after scoring and paid the penalty as a Seapatrick forward burst into the penalty area to rifle a shot past Coburn in the United goal. Despite a valiant effort United could not get a second equaliser.
This weekend United will return to league action with a home game against St. Luke’s with a 7.30pm kick off.
United entertained Mossley YM at Millbridge last Saturday and following what was a good day’s work they turned in a 3-0 win which gives if they repeat this performance in their remaining games they might just escape relegation.
This game burst into life in the 20th minute when Johnny Stevenson slammed home a shot from around the penalty spot during a scramble in the Mossley penalty area.
The visitors pressed for an equaliser but they created little and the defensive barrier of Davis, Patterson, Dickson and Stuart McMullan provided a platform for this victory given their straightforward approach to clearing their lines. John McMenamin provided a safe pair of hands in the goalkeeper position.
United’s midfield of Ian McMullan, Gavin Crawford, Ben Wilson and Scott Brashaw held the ball comfortably with Brashaw linking effectively with forwards Ross Murray and Johnny Stevenson.
In the second half United came out with a purpose not only to defend their lead but also to increase their it and it was teenager Ross Murray who as a constant thorn in the Mossley defence scored United’s second on 50 minutes when he smashed the ball home after good work by Stevenson. Crawford went close minutes later when he shot over after a serious bit of misunderstanding in the visitors defence.
On the hour mark Murray made it 3 -0 when the Mossley defence waited for an offside call against Stevenson however he had never made any attempt to go for the ball and the quick thinking teenager scampered onto the loose ball to coolly finish past the goal keeper.
Sadly the game got rather physical in the latter parts of the game and manager Alan Davis replaced a few of his senior players because of the danger of them being sent off such was the provocation being dished out. Greg Allison, John Hill and Ben Onuoha came into the game and played excellently to maintain one of the few clean sheets of United’ season so far.
Ballynahinch United Swifts secured a derby win against Drumaness when the two teams played each other at the Assumption playing fields on Saturday. A hat trick from Alan Massey and another from Craig Tate gave them a valuable three points.
United entertained Chimney Corner in this first round Intermediate Cup game at Millbridge last Saturday. The match had been scheduled to take place the previous week however a waterlogged ground had contributed to its cancellation.
The visitors were an unknown quantity however in the first fifteen minutes United’s goalkeeper Michael Vladeanu had made three one on one saves to keep his team in the game.
Central defender Alan Patterson went over on his ankle after twenty minutes and he was replaced by Alex Burtney with Corey Fitzpatrick switching to defence. At this point United had settled into the game and had forced a number of corners and saves from the visiting keeper. Within ten minutes on being on the pitch Alex Burtney has scored two goals following combinations with Ross Murray and Ian McMullan and his efforts were added to by Stuart McMullan who made it 3 – 0. In midfield David Kelly and Gavin Crawford worked tirelessly to deny the visitors possession while defensively Jack Davis, Scott Brashaw and the Fitzpatrick brothers Corey and Dylan stood up to anything that came at them.
Having gone in 3 – 0 up at half time things looked good for the home team however the second half turned out to be a stressful 45 minutes for management and supporters.
In fairness to Chimney Corner they came out all guns a blazing in the second half and their efforts were rewarded with a penalty on the hour mark which gave them something to fight for. United weathered the initial storm but could not find the fluency they had in the first half.Conceding another goal late in the game kept everyone on the edge of their seat to the end but credit to the players who battled hard to keep their win. United will entertain Mid Ulster side Craigavon City in the next round in mid-November.
United entertained NAFL Division 1B promotion contenders Barn United at the Millbridge last Saturday. Having taken four points from two games against Grove and Barn a few weeks ago United were anxious to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat the previous week to Portaferry.
It was the visitors who started the strongest and despite the loss of their leading scorer during the week to Premier League side East Belfast they looked like a very accomplished outfit that moved the band around with ease. United’s defensive line-up of Davis, Brashaw, Patterson and Dickson had their work cut out from the start with returning goalkeeper Hagi [Michael Vladeanu] making several excellent saves. It took about ten minutes before the home team were able to get a decent attack together however they almost scored when having been awarded a free kick outside the penalty area David Kelly’s shot ricochet’s off the Barn wall and struck the base of the post. After this United forced a number of corners through the tenacity of midfielders Allison, Kelly, Crawford and Stuart McMullan and the intelligent runs of Ross Murray and Ian McMullan. In the 20th minute this hard work was rewarded with a goal when a defender under pressure from Crawford at a corner headed into his own net.
Barn laid siege to the United goal for a period of time after this but could not get a breakthrough and from a breakaway the Barn goalkeeper brought Stuart McMullan down and David Kelly scored the resultant kick to make it 2-0.
In the second half United toiled to preserve their lead with substitutes Burtney, Fitzpatrick and Hill joining the fray to add much needed energy. Both Ian McMullan and Corey Fitzpatrick had excellent opportunities to score in one on one situation but they failed to do so.
Barn scored in the 87th minute to make it a very difficult closing period however United held on to claim a deserved three points on a day when most of the so called strugglers also achieved victories.
This Saturday there is a break from league action when United entertain one of Northern Ireland’s most famous clubs Chimney Corner in the 1st Round of the Junior Cup. While they are no longer the force they once were they will nevertheless give United a tough game. The kick-off is at 1.30pm.