United entertained the Division 1B league leaders Dunmurry YM at Millbridge in this league encounter. The visitors entered the game having won eleven straight league matches and throughout the first half they performed very well stretching the United defence of JJ Carlisle, Davy Boal, Ross Hayes and Stuart McMullan at every opportunity. Brian McMullan in United’s goal seen lots of action and had to be alert on a number of occasions with some excellent saves and catches. United had a few decent attacks on the Dunmurry goal with Johnny Gibson having a couple of half chances. Half time was reached with honours even and generally very little for the respective spectators to shout about.
It was United who came out of the blocks the quickest in the second half and what an impact they made with Aaron Cheevers scoring in the 46th minute when he pounced on a mistake to score with a well struck shot. United continued this ascendency with wave after wave of attacks with Greg Allison and Aaron Cheevers prominent on both wings. United were very unlucky not to go two ahead when a Cheevers cross was deflected by a Dunmurry defender onto his keeper’s chest and then onto the cross bar before being cleared. Moments later Greg Allison beat the keeper to a cross only to see his header bounce agonisingly wide of the post. Gavin Crawford almost made it two when he fired a long range shot goal ward when the Dunmurry keeper mistimes a clearance.
The home teams midfield of Ian Boal, Scott Brashaw, Crawford and Cheevers were working very hard and proving effective however United’s failure to capitalise on their opportunities always had the potential to be their downfall however it would actually be a series of unfortunate circumstances that would contribute.
In the 75th minute Dunmurry were awarded a penalty following what looked like a decent last gasp challenge by Davy Boal. He appeared to have got the ball but the referee didn’t see it that way and having already been booked he received a second yellow card and was dismissed. Dunmurry duly took their opportunity and their penalty taker made no mistake.
Even though they were reduced to ten players the introduction into central defence of Owen Bassett gave United a solid look and indeed United had a number of opportunities.
United also had fresh legs with the introduction of Ian McMullan who proved to be a handful for the Dunmurry defenders and Lee Maxwell. Unfortunately for United an accidental collision between goal keeper Brian McMullan and Owen Bassett led to United losing their keeper with Lee Maxwell volunteering to stand in. The nine men United team fought on gamely as Dunmurry launched attack after attacked and in the dying minutes of the second half they conceded a second goal from a header. Despite a decent period of additional time they could not breach the Dunmurry defence and the unfortunate JJ Carlisle deflected the ball into his own net deep into injury time to end any chance United had.
Despite this defeat United can be well pleased with their effort because on another day they might well have had at least a draw. This week United travel to the Shore Road, Belfast for a league game against Grove United.