Ballynahinch United returned to league action after exiting the Intermediate Cup against Kilmore Rec. This week they took a trip to Portaferry Rovers at Cloughey Road Playing Fields.
The visitors were without their captain Gary Murray due to sickness and influential midfielders Gavin Crawford and Ben Wilson through work and marathoning, but were able to welcome back Peter Russell to the club.
The team started slowly following their long journey across the water, with the defence and Goalkeeper standing strong and keeping the scores 0 – 0. The rest of the team soon worked their way into the match and battled well against Rovers and the conditions.
The ground made playing football difficult for both teams, particularly in the central areas of the pitch but United were soon able to utilise their width with Ross Murray and Alex Burtney having the beating of their opposition.
Their sustained attacks soon paid off when Alex Burtney drove past the full back and somehow found the bottom corner from an impossible angle to give United the breakthrough and put them 1 – 0 up.
An injury to full back Dylan Fitzpatrick forced Ricky and Dale to reshuffle the pack, and brought on Johnny Stevenson into midfield.
The team continued to work hard, playing against the wind and managed to keep their lead going into the break.
In the second half, United were forced to play up the hill and found themselves drawing level with the opposition early on. A long throw beat the first United defender and landed at the feet of the Portaferry attacker who was able to lay it off to a man on the edge of the area. His cross-come-shot was turend in at the back post to make it 1 – 1 much to Ballynahinch’s despair.
However, United were determined to go ahead again. Shortly after, United won the ball after a corner from Portaferry. The United attack broke quickly, Ian McMullan drove forward with the ball beating two men in the process before being fouled just outside the Portaferry area. Stuart Fitzsimons stepped up and rifled the ball into the corner from the free kick to put United ahead again.
United couldn’t hold their lead again though, and Portaferry equalised once again with a smashing long range shot from outside the area that was carreid by the wind past defence and ‘keeper.
Both teams pushed for a third and it came in fortunate circumstances, this time Portaferry took the lead. A Rovers forward flung a foot in the air that crashed against the head of United defender Alan Patterson, and the ball landed at the feet of another Portaferry forward who was able to put the home side in front, despite the calls for high-feet the referee ignored and awarded the goal.
United were forced into another change with Harry Bell naming his debut for the injured Corey.
They pushed again looking to even the score with Scott Brashaw pulling strings in midfield. But they were unable to connect with their final ball and make their dominance count.
As United threw everyone forward including the goalkeeper, in search of a third, Portaferry broke again. Their pass found an attacker standing inside the United half – with only one defender between himslf and the goal, he was able to find the empty net to make the score 4 – 2. Despite the protests of offside from United, the referee again awarded the goal.
Full Time was soon called.
United’s next fixture is back at The Millbridge vs Downshire YM, where the 50s Club Draw for October will also take place.
Portaferry Rovers 4 – 2 BUFC
|Goalscorers:||Alex Burtney Stuart Fitzsimons|
|Competition:||NAFL Div 1B|
|Ground:||Cloughey Road Playing Fields|
Ballynahinch United Swifts
The Swifts game against Newcastle Young Boys was called off.