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

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 3 v 2 Chimney Corner

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.

Club Awards

Last Saturday was the traditional cup final celebrations at the Millbridge which started at 2.00pm with a match featuring two teams made up of over and under 30’s which provided great entertainment and lots of fun as well as seven goals.

Despite going a few goals down the under 30’s stormed back to win 4-3. Each player taking part made a contribution to support David Griffiths who sustained a broken leg earlier in the season playing for the 2nds and a presentation was made to David prior to the player’s awards event.

BUFC Under and Over 30's teams, managers and officials
BUFC Under and Over 30’s teams, managers and officials

Following the game everybody moved to the clubhouse were they enjoyed a buffet meal followed by the annual end of season prize giving. Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie in his opening remarks thanked all those who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to organise and finance the club or maintain its Millbridge facilities. He highlighted the stewardship of Treasurer Gareth Bingham and the diligence of groundsman Jimmy Brown who although present is currently recovering from a knee operation. He thanked the many club sponsors for their continued support and the supporters who turned up in their numbers throughout the season which was very much appreciated.

Referring to the first team’s relegation disappointing as it was he thanked former manager Keith Hamilton for his unstinting efforts and expressed the club’s gratitude to Scott Brashaw and Ross Hayes for stepping in to take in the role until the end of the season.

One shining light in the season was the introduction of an almost entirely youth based second team managed by Alan Davis and Paul Allison which had received considerable plaudits from within the Newcastle league and from which a number of players had joined the first team squad acquitting themselves very well.

In closing the Chairman refereed to the appointment of Alan Davis and Paul Allison as first team managers with Gareth Bingham and Davy Teggarty taking over the seconds. He assured them that the club committee would give them 100% support and he asked the players and supporters to do the same as we all try to take the club forward.

The awards which were presented by the first and second team managers were as follows:

1st Team


Players Player of the Year: Gavin Crawford.
Managers Player of the Year: Jack Davis.
Leading Scorer: Gavin Crawford.

2nd Team


Players Player of the Year: Ross Murray.
Managers Player of the Year: Alex Burtney.
Leading Scorer: Ross Murray.

Young Player of the Year: Jack Davis.
Overall Leading Club Scorer: Ross Murray.

Club Officials pictured with Award winners l-r Davy Teggarty, Alan Davis, Ross Murray,Jack Davis, Ross Hayes, Alex Burtney & Scott Brashaw
Club Officials pictured with Award winners l-r
Davy Teggarty, Alan Davis, Ross Murray,Jack Davis, Ross Hayes, Alex Burtney & Scott Brashaw