Ballynahinch United’s recent good run of one defeat in seven league and cup games continued with this important league win away to local rivals Saintfield United. The hosts have been struggling of late however United manager Keith Hamilton would not underestimate their ability to cause an upset. He was delighted to be able to field a full squad except for the suspended David Boal and bringing in new signing Owen Bassett to the match day fourteen.
Saintfield United started off brightly but just as they were settling into the game they were caught out by a quick move which saw Aaron Cheevers put Ian McMullan through to beat the offside trap to round the keeper and slot the ball into the net.
The lead did not last for long as Nick Ross nipped in to get the equaliser for the home side. The remainder of the first half saw both teams cancel each other out with the majority of the play taking place within the central midfield area.
The visitors came out for the second half with a renewed determination and in the 50th minute Ian McMullan gave them the lead when he headed home from a Lee Maxwell corner. Within a matter of minutes the lead had been increased to 3-1 when Simon Jackson crossed for Gareth McMullan to slip the ball home after some fancy foot work and score his first goal since his recent return to the club.
Saintfield who were being captained by former Ballynahinch United player Craig Bowman worked tirelessly with the Softley brothers in fine form however Crawford, Hayes, Brashaw, Stuart McMullan and JJ Carlisle were solid defensively while keeper Brian McMullan’s handling was excellent.
The game was put out of the home teams reach when Aaron Cheevers was flattened in the penalty area and when he gathered himself up he struck a brilliant spot kick into the net to claim all three points.
Manager Keith Hamilton was able to use his substitute’s bench to the full with Bassett on his club debut, David Kelly and Johnny Gibson giving his team a fresh impetus and causing the home team considerable defensive problems with their direct approach.
Saintfield did press hard to get back into the game and they created a number of chances that had they been taken could have caused Ballynahinch some uncomfortable moments.
This week Ballynahinch United are at home to NAFL Division 1C side Bryansburn Rangers in an Intermediate Cup tie. The kick-off is at 1.30pm and this is the last home game at the Millbridge in 2013 so it would be nice to see a big crowd down to cheer the team on.