United entertained their near neighbours Drumaness Mills in this 1st Round Coca Cola Intermediate Cup tie at the Millbridge last Saturday. The weather twenty four hours before had been horrendous and when the pitch was inspected on Friday evening those who did considered it unplayable however by Saturday morning the good work that grounds man Jimmy Brown and his helpers had done during the summer bore fruit and it was game on. Unfortunately for the large number of supporters who turned up to encourage both teams on the rain started just before kick-off however to a man, women and child they stayed with it.
Drumaness Mills started the game with a strong wind in their backs and they dominated the early play winning a succession of corners however they failed to trouble a resolute United defence in which Davy Boal, Scott Brashaw, Ross Hayes and JJ Carlisle were in excellent form. United on the other hand had their attacking options restricted to breakaways and on several occasions the strong running of Simon Jackson and Johnny Gibson caused the Mills defence quite a few problems.
The Mills took the lead on the half hour mark when Davy Boal mistimed a challenge inside the penalty area and from the spot ace marksman Nathan Jones beat goal keeper Brian McMullan but only just.
The weather was deteriorating as the game went into the final fifteen minutes of the half however United seemed to increase in tempo and Jackson brought an outstanding save from the Mills keeper who seemed to injury himself in doing so. Minutes later and United were level when the Mills keeper flapped at a cross and when the ball broke free Ian Boal smashed the ball goal ward and it went in off a defender.
In the second half Drumaness Mills despite a stiff breeze in their faces played some neat football and United’s midfield of Aaron Cheevers, Ian Boal, Gavin Crawford and Ian McMullan had a lot of work to do to keep them at bay.
United were always a danger on the break and Lee Maxwell who had not been scoring with the same regularity of late arrived on the scene at the right time to rifle home the winner.
In the closing moments of the game United had two players dismissed by the referee with one the victim of a blatant head butt which everyone but the referee witnessed. He did however see the victim try to protect himself from any further assault which was sufficient to warrant him receiving a red card.
A very disappointing end to a game that was generally played in a sporting manner and particularly so for the home team who prevailed against a strong and experienced Drumaness Mills team who are riding high in the NAFL Premier League.
Congratulations to the supporters from both teams who turned out in atrocious conditions and gave their team’s tremendous support.
This week United travel to Hollywood F.C in the league.