United headed to North Down to take on recently promoted Bangor Amateurs at Clandeboye Road, overlooking the Bangor Fuels Arena in the NAFL Div 1B.
United started strongest in a frantic, fast-paced first five minutes. The away side, buoyed by a good performance the week, were determined to go one better this time around and found themselves ahead from a corner.
Alex Burtney took the corner from the left but only found the first man who headed clear, but not far enough. Scott Brashawâ€™s cultured left foot guided the ball back towards the net from just inside the Bangor box, which flashed past the goalkeeper who saw it late.
United nearly doubled their lead in similar circumstances when Stuart McMullan rifled a left foot drive from outside the box towards the top corner but an outstanding save from the Bangor keeper prevented the net from being struck again.
Bangor began to gain more of a foothold in the game and started to take control in midfield, while also causing problems down their left side. They soon equalised after a stroke of good fortune. With Bangor applying pressure and United working hard to hold onto their lead, the home team found space on the left and their winger cut inside.
His cross-come-shot looped accidentally over Stefan in the United net who was unable to do anything to prevent the scores being levelled.
A few minutes later, the home side in red went ahead. Their second goal came almost as an exact replica of the equaliser with United not learning from their previous mistakes. This time, the finish was a lot more deliberate and the Bangor forward curled a precise finish into the far corner to make it 2 – 1.
United composed themselves having fallen behind and both teams continued to look threatening in attack. High pressing from a swarm of Yellow shirts forced Bangor into an error and Stuart Fitzsimons found himself in on goal.
One on one, he rounded the keeper and hesitated, and took it past the keeper again. A number of defenders arrived in support, but the United forward danced between them, unable to get his shot away, before reaching the 6 yard box. With Bangor bodies sprawled in his wake, he finally rolled the ball home to make it 2 – 2 before half time, much to the relief of his team mates!
The teams resumed play after half-time, United, playing against the slight hill, started brightly with Roy Shilliday and Alex Burtney providing width in attack and Brashaw and Ben Wilson breaking up attacks in midfield ahead of a strong defence.
Soon, their bright started resulted in an opening. A long goal kick was flicked on by Ian McMullan to Roy, who returned the pass. The forward pass was intercepted by a Bangor defender who attempted to pass back to his goalkeeper but his hesitation allowed Ian to nip ahead of the defender who brought him down. The referee rightly awarded a penalty. Alex Burtney stepped up to the spot.
His penalty was saved! But Burtney was able to slot home the rebound to give United the lead for the second time in the game. United continued to create chances however they were unable to find a fourth goal to give themselves a cushion.
With a slender one goal lead, United found themselves under increasing pressure. Bangor bombarded the Ballynahinch box with ball after ball but the defence stood firm, marshalled by Club Captain Gary Murray who was able to turn a number of dangerous crosses past the post when it looked more likely to go in.
Goalkeeper Stefan made a number of important saves and catches to bail out his defence while his brother Conor looked strong in the air.
Despite United defending well, Bangor finally evened the score again. A Bangor striker latched onto a hopeful long clearance in behind the Ballynahinch defence and was able find the net.
The final 10 minutes or so could have resulted in a winner for either side but United were unable to convert their last chance while Bangor couldnâ€™t get on the end of their dangerous corners.
The referee brought an entertaining game to a close. A game both teams will feel they could have won. Another point for United as they continue to improve performances.
Bangor Amateurs 3 – 3 Ballynahinch United
|Competition:||NAFL Div 1B|
Ballynahinch Swifts 0 – 7 Celtic Bhoys IIs
A young Swifts side were on the receiving end of 7 goals from a strong Celtic Bhoys IIs. An early onslaught saw the home side concede five goals in a whirlwind 20 min which made it difficult to recover from.
Although not ideal circumstances, one positive for the Swifts was the debuts of two promising Under 17 players to mark the official partnership between Ballynahinch United and Ballynahinch Youth and Ladies.
The boys had already appeared for the Youth team in a 5- 0 Semi-Final victory in the Supplementary Cup before making an appearance at The Millbridge for the Swifts.
Weâ€™re excited for the future introduction and development of more youth products filtering into the senior squads when the time is right.
|Competition:||NADAFL Div 1|
The September draw for our 50s Club took part at The Millbridge following full time of The Swifts match.