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

New Management Announced

Ballynahinch United F.C. is delighted to advise that the new first team manager will be Alan Davis who will be assisted by Paul Allison. Both have been involved with the club’s Youth side for some years and last year stepped up to take on the Swifts team which made excellent strides in Division 1 of the Newcastle League.

The Swifts will be managed by club stalwart Gareth Bingham assisted by Davy Teggarty.

The club would also like to send its best wishes to Jimmy Brown who is currently recovering after knee surgery.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United Swifts 2 v 1 Kilmore Rec. 2nds

The Swifts met Kilmore Rec 2nds for the third time in relatively quick succession and this time in the Purdy Cup.

Due to first team call ups manager Alan Davis had to shuffle his team somewhat. There was a strong wind blowing across the Langley Road pitch which made conditions difficult and the Kilmore team settled the quicker of the two. They also took the lead from the penalty spot in the early minutes of the game which brought about a change of formation for the Swifts.

The visitors were calling the shots with the home defence and midfield having to work hard to keep them out however as the first half was nearing its end Graeme McMullan sent Aaron McCaffrey through only to see his shot go narrowly wide. Minutes later Ross Murray who was having a quiet half ran onto an Alex Burtney pass to slot the ball home.

In the second half the Swifts had a slight wind advantage but the overall conditions made flowing football almost impossible. The home defence of Onhua, Annett, Beattie and McMullan coped with Kilmore’s long ball strategy while in midfield King and Hunter started to get the upper hand. The winning goal came from a Hunter pass which found Ross Murray and his shot was parried by the Kilmore keeper however Gareth Bingham was on hand to bundle the ball into the net. In the closing minutes Blaine almost increased their lead but his shot sailed past the post.

In the end the Swifts were pleased to get into the second round of this competition.

Match Report: Ballyvea IIs 1 v 3 Ballynahinch United Swifts

The Swifts travelled to Kilkeel without last week’s match winner Lee Price and Ross Hayes who were both called up to the first team. With the poor weather conditions the teams had to play on a heavy pitch which deteriorated as the match went on.

In the early exchanges there was little between both sides with Paul King and John McMenamin holding firm at the centre of the Swifts defence, while at the other end Graeme McMullan and Aaron McCaffrey worked tirelessly to cause problems for the Ballyvea defence.

However, mid-way through the first half Ballynahinch took control of the game and, as they pushed forward, started to create chances. The opening goal came following a period of intense pressure on the home side. When Allan Massey rifled the ball into the box, McCaffrey reacted quickest with a powerful diving header that left the keeper with no chance.

It was McCaffrey again who caused problems leading up to the second goal. Clean through, he took the ball round the home keeper who was caught outside his penalty area, only to be sent sprawling. From the resulting free kick Matt Manley stepped up to curl the ball into the top corner of the net from at least 35 yards.

The Swifts were keen to add to their lead and managed to do so spectacularly early in the second half. With Ballyvea again forced to defend in numbers inside their own box the ball broke to Gareth Bingham 25 yards out. Taking a touch with his left foot and shooting with his right, he swept the ball over the defence and the keeper into the top of the net.

As the second half progressed Ballynahinch continued to maintain pressure on the home side until an unusual situation developed. Ballyvea 1sts were playing on an adjacent pitch with an early kick off in the Bobby Dalzell Cup. When their match finished two first team players joined their 2nds to come on as substitutes. While no rules were broken, it caused a distraction for the away side and gave Ballyvea a foothold in the game.

With Ballyvea pushing forward they started to get a few chances of their own, and forced a couple of saves from McGreevy in the Ballynahinch goal, before finally finding the net. A deflected pass from the left finding an unmarked forward in the box who was able to glance the ball home. With twenty minutes left the momentum shifted to the home side and the Swifts were indebted to Stewart Wilcox for a goal line clearance to keep their two goal cushion intact.

However, the game was to take another turn with Ballynahinch stepping up their game. Massey and Bingham dropped deep in midfield and stopped the Ballyvea advance, while Manley, McMullan and McCaffrey pushed further forward to put the home side on the back foot again. Only a goal line clearance from McCaffrey’s shot and the keeper’s save from Griffith’s effort prevented a wider winning margin.

A special mention must go to veteran Ian Blackwood who came on as a substitute only to dislocate one finger and break another. Epitomising the away side’s spirit he played on without complaint and helped Ballynahinch to an excellent away victory.

This week the Swifts travel to Killough for a league encounter.

BUFC Annual Dinner and Awards 2015

BUFC Award winners Gareth Bingham, Graeme McMullan, Ian McMullan, Greg Allison, Ethan Majury, Stuart McMullan and Alan Massey at the clubs Annual Dinner
BUFC Award winners Gareth Bingham, Graeme McMullan, Ian McMullan, Greg Allison, Ethan Majury, Stuart McMullan and Alan Massey at the clubs Annual Dinner

Ballynahinch United held their annual dinner and awards presentation in the Primrose Restaurant on Saturday night.

Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie welcomed those present and thanked committee, players, supporters and sponsors for all their hard work during what had been a successful season for both the United and Swifts teams. The following awards were presented:

Managers Player of the Year: Gareth Bingham
Players Player of the Year: Graeme McMullan
Leading Scorers: Alan Massey / Graeme McMullan

Managers Player of the Year: Stuart McMullan
Players Player of the Year: Ethan Majury
Leading Scorer: Ian McMullan
Young Player of the Year: Greg Allison

Club Leading Scorers: Alan Massey / Graeme McMullan

The Golden Boot Award went to first team defender Davy Boal