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

Pre-season training begins this Saturday – 29th June

Pre-season training begins at the Millbridge this Saturday 29th June at 2pm. Sessions will continue each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday but some will not necessarily be held at Millbridge. If you cant make the first session but would like details of the other sessions please keep checking back for updates on this site

The club would be keen to encourage players who would like the challenge of stepping up to Intermediate standard to come along and give it a go. Also players who have played at this level and have moved into the area would be made very welcome.

Last season the club finished mid table in Division 1B  and this year they are determined to make a challenge for promotion. The team have proved in recent seasons that they can perform at the highest level defeating more established sides such as Loughgall and Ballymoney to name but a few in cup competitions. They also reached the fifth round of the Irish Cup before losing to Irish Premier League opposition in Coleraine.

In addition to the Intermediate team the club also fields teams in the NAFL Division 3D and the Newcastle League Division 3.

The senior team will again be managed by Colin Murray and Keith Hamilton.

If anyone would like more information please contact the Club Secretary on 07436112954 or contact us via this website.

Ballynahinch Utd IIs 3 v 3 Kilroot Recreation IIs

The Swifts entertained a Kilroot reserve side which has not won a single game this season and which was filled with first teamer’s in this enthralling league game at the Millbridge.

Aaron McCaffrey gave the Swifts the lead after ten minutes but a rash tackle on the edge of the penalty area saw Kilroot equalise with a well-placed free kick. Not long Ethan Majury conceded a penalty which was converted despite Johnny McGreevy getting a hand to it.

On the half hour mark Aaron McCaffrey got the equaliser when he rose highest in the penalty area to head home brilliantly from a Majury free kick. Kilroot who were dangerous on the break scored a third following a sweeping move down the right wing.

Paul King who had one of his poorest games by his own admission scored the equaliser before half time with a simply stunning strike from 20 yards out that shot into the roof of the net.

After this the scene was set for a rip roaring second half or so the half dozen or so supporters who braved the elements but they were to be sorely disappointed. Very few chances were created and had it not been for an excellent save just after half time from McGreevy the Swifts may not have got anything out of the game at all.

The best player on the park in the second half was teenager Greg Allison who worked his socks off on the left wing both in attack and defence and he was closely followed by the efforts of another teenager Graham McMullan who had a good game on his first start for the Swifts.

The Albion 2 v 2 Moneyslane 3rds

The Albion played this league game at the Millbridge as a result of the cancellation of the Swifts league match and they put on one of their better performances in recent weeks.

Things did not start of good however as they conceded a goal after 10 minutes but they recovered to equalise with a good goal from Ross Bingham.

In the second half Moneyslane found themselves down to ten men as a result of a rash of injuries and they allowed the Albion to enjoy most of the possession. Jason Brennan popped up in a goal mouth scramble midway through the second half to give the Albion the lead.

Moneyslane equalised in the dying moments of injury time when a forward headed home from an unmarked position.