Bells Bridge, Dromara was the setting for the first ever derby match between Ballynahinch rivals Olympic and United. It was somewhat ironic that the setting for the game was Bells Bridge which was once United’s home ground in their early days.
A decent crowd turned up for the game however if they were looking for any fireworks at this Halloween period they would have been sadly mistaken because in general terms both teams were more focussed on playing football.
Olympic as the home side made much of the early running and but for the intervention of Stuart McMullan heading off the goal line from an early attack they could have been ahead.
Apart from this United’s experienced defensive line-up of Boal, Hayes, Brashaw and Herron with Dickson providing a shield gave United’s goalkeeper Brian McMullan solid protection and kept Olympics’ prolific scorer Niall Murray at bay.
United took the lead five minutes from half time when they forced a corner which was taken by Stuart McMullan. Paul Dickson rose above everyone else to head home past Olympic keeper Ryan Walsh.
In the second half both sides had an equal share of possession without really creating any serious goal scoring opportunities. For United Dalton Tate was very effective in central midfield along with Gavin Crawford while in attack Ian McMullan and Aaron McCaffrey chased everything.
United doubled their lead on 65 minutes when Gavin Crawford, who has been scoring regularly in his second season with the club, hit a screamer of a shot from around 20 yards which beat Walsh to nestle in the net.
United were playing with confidence and didn’t have to force the issue however in the closing quarter Olympic made a few changes and it paid dividends when they scored with a deflected header to leave a grandstand finish.
United introduced stalwart Johnny Stevenson to the action for his first outing of the season along with teenager Greg Allison and their fresh legs provided a threat to an Olympic team who were chasing the equaliser. Stevenson was unlucky not to score when he crashed a shot of the Olympic crossbar however the visitors were able to hold out to secure a vital three points and end a two game losing sequence when they have perhaps been a shade unlucky with the run of the ball.
This week United host Rathfern Rangers in a league game at the Millbridge.