Bloomfield 3 v 2 Ballynahinch United

United travelled to Grand Parade, Belfast on Saturday for this league encounter with Bloomfield one of the form teams in the division. United’s line up was enhanced with the return of Scot Brashaw, Jay Smyth and Adam Herron however an astonishing six first teamers in JJ Carlisle, goalkeeper Brian McMullan, Craig Bowman, Johnny Hunter, Scott McKibbin and Alan Patterson were absent for a variety of reasons. Into the line-up stepped goalkeeper John McMenamin for his competitive debut and new signing Steven Kennedy with both acquitting themselves very well.

The game started evenly with both teams settling into the heavy conditions but soon United’s cause was set back by the dismissal of Ian Boal for an innocuous challenge near the touch line which deserved no more than a yellow card and a stern warning.

Soon after Bloomfield took the lead but United had got themselves reorganised and equalised through Steven Kennedy who scored on his debut with a fine drive after some skilful foot work.

United had a number of other scoring opportunities through Brashaw and Herron but they failed to take them.

In the second half United grafted hard but the game became a war of attrition with the referee continually taking centre stage dishing out yellow cards like confetti generally for the most trivial tackles while more severe challenges went unpunished.

Bloomfield nudged themselves in front midway through the half but as the game was entering its closing stages up popped Ian McMullan to head the equaliser. By this stage United had been reduced to nine players following another dismissal.

The game went into extra time and it looked as if United had done enough to win a point but again the referee intervened playing an astonishing ten minutes of additional time and it was in the 99th minute that Bloomfield scored the winner from a free kick.

This was a disappointing outcome for United however the performance of debutants John McMenamin in goals and Steven Kennedy was a welcome boost.