NAFL Clarence Cup 1st Round: Abbey Villa 3 v 1 Ballynahinch United

After a break of over two months Ballynahinch United got their season back on track with a game having suffered cancellation after cancellation due to the recent inclement weather. Believe it or not this game was moved from venue to venue across North Down to get it played and it finally took place on the council pitch at Kircubbin which was in excellent condition.

United were up against Abbey Villa in one of the leading contenders in NAFL Division 1A and not having played for some time was evident as the home team went into a 2-0 lead after fifteen minutes with goals from Adam Arthurs and Michael Doran.

Most of the first half hour proved to be hard going for United with their defensive line up of Alex Miller, Ross Hayes, Scott Brashaw and Stuart McMullan having to work hard and give goal keeper Bryan McMullan some cover. As the first half progressed the midfield of Dalton Tate, Gavin Crawford, Matty Shaw, Aaron Cheevers and Stuart Hunter got a lot more possession to give Ian McMullan some service and support up front. In the 40th minute Ian McMullan scored following a goalmouth scramble and as the first half ended the visitors were well into the game.

At the start of the second half it was Abbey Villa who made the early running however once United got hold of the ball the situation changed with wave after wave of attack descending on the Villa goal and in the 50th minute United got the opportunity to level the game when Ian McMullan was upended in the penalty area. Up stepped the usually reliable Dalton Tate who sadly got under his spot kick to launch it over the bar.

Abbey Villa got a third from a Michael Doran header on the hour mark and this made United’s task all the more harder. United manager Keith Hamilton brought on Dee Stewart, Gregg Allison and Ethan Majury in an effort to get back into the game. Majury, Stuart McMullan and Alex Millar all had long range efforts from free kicks but they could not get the opening that would have made for an exciting finish.

This was United’s first game for almost ten weeks and given the quality of the opposition they were facing this was a good performance and it is a credit to the players for keeping themselves in good condition despite the constant disappointments of the previous weeks postponements.

This week United entertain Colin Valley at the Millbridge and it will require a performance of the same quality to secure important league points.

Some photos of saturdays match can be seen below.

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