A sun drenched Millbridge hosted a Border Cup first round tie against Groomsport who were visiting the ground for the second time in a fortnight. Manager Glynn Robinson went into the game without at least half a dozen regulars and he also chose to give full debuts to teenagers Conor Graham and Johnny Shannon leaving another three regulars on the bench. Also making his debut was goalkeeper Niall Tyndall whose handling was excellent throughout.
The early exchanges were fairly even however United started to dominate creating numerous openings through the efforts of Greg Allison on the right and Alex Burtney on the left. In central midfield Gavin Crawford and Jordan Hayes worked tirelessly while the new but very effective defensive line out of Johnny Shannon, Conor Graham, Ben Wilson and Davy Boal looked solid. Having spurned a number of decent scoring opportunities which included several excellent saves by the visiting keeper United took the lead on 25 minutes when Ian McMullan tapped in from close range following a goal mouth scramble.
On the half hour mark United were awarded a penalty when Johnny Stevenson was bundled over. The big striker dusted himself down and took the spot kick however it was well saved by the Groomsport keeper down to his right hand side.
Five minutes later Groomsport broke on the right wing and although their forward looked offside he smashed a shot past Tyndall to make the score 1 – 1 at half time.
Early in the second half manager Glynn Robinson made a few planned substitutions bringing Alan Patterson on in defence and Jack Davis in midfield.
In the 55th minute Ian McMullan ran onto a pass from Stevenson and slotted the ball into the net. Minutes later Jack Forbes was brought into the action and he pounced on a loose ball to head the ball into the net to make it 3 – 1.
On the hour mark it was 4 – 1 as Ian McMullan got his hat trick when he intercepted a back pass to run past the keeper and slot the ball home.
Jack Forbes, Jack Davis and Alex Burtney were making a nuisance of themselves across midfield as they latched onto clearance after clearance feeding numerous passes into the penalty area.
Forbes got his second goal when he and Stevenson combined for the latter to fire the ball into the net form ten yards and the hard working Stevenson got a deserved goal when he ghosted into the penalty area to take the ball past the tackles of several defenders to shoot home.
The score line of 6 – 1 was a deserved result for the home side who worked tirelessly throughout. Groomsport never gave up at any time and played some neat football at times.
There is no match this week due to the Northern Ireland International so the next action is expected to be on Saturday 15th September.