United travelled to play St Luke’s at the Brook Leisure Centre with Peter Russell and Ian McMullan returning to squad following suspensions, and Gavin Crawford back after holiday.
The match started in St Luke’s favour when the referee requested that United change their yellow socks into green and blue socks provided by St Luke’s, despite the amatuer league rules.
United obliged so the match would go ahead. Ballynahinch started slowly and took their time to adjust to the hard 4G pitch and St Luke’s soon took advantage and went one up when the United defence and midfield couldn’t clear the ball from the edge of the area.
The away side were soon dealt another blow when they lost Stuart Fitzsimons to injury.
United found their feet and looked threatening with Alex Burtney, Ross Murray and Jonny Shannon on the attack.
Ballynahinch were given the opportunity to equalise when Burtney was sent tumbling to the ground in the box. He stepped up to his the penalty, and bagged his 10th goal of the season to draw the sides level.
Just moments later young Jonny Shannon found himself in space and slotted Burtney through again to put United ahead with a delightful finish.
The United team dug deep and worked hard for the remainder of the half with St Luke’s beginning to gain a little more control of the game, when on the stroke of half time they won a corner.
As the ball was whipped in, a St Luke’s player fell to the ground and the referree awarded a penalty for an apparent push. United goalkeeper, Stefan Graham faced the St Luke’s forward from 12 yards and made a magnificent save to prevent the equaliser!
However, the referee orded the penalty to be retaken, after alledged encroachment from a Ballynahinch defender…
The St Luke’s striker scored the equaliser from the spot at the second attempt to make it 2 – 2. The ref took exception to something that had been said and produced a red card for Peter Russell for dissent.
United were very unfortunate to go in level with a man down, than 2 – 1 up with 11 men.
Things went from bad to worse for United when just seconds into the second half, they found themselves behind from kickoff.
The referee went on to award another penalty to St Luke’s after a player was fouled in the box, despite the clear handball from St Luke’s player in the build up – lying on the ground, the player handled the ball and moved it towards another St Luke’s player. The penalty decision stood, despite the United protests. Stefan almost got a hand to the penalty but was unable to prevent it from going in.
United continued to look to go forward and reduce the defecit but were unable to do so and conceeded two more goals in doing so with the match finishing 6 – 2 in the end.
A disappointing final score with some misfortune. We go to Tullycarnet this week in the cup in the final game before Christmas.
St Luke’s FC 6 – 2 BUFC
|Goalscorers:||Alex Burtney x2|
|Competition:||NAFL Div 1B|
|Ground:||Brook Leisure Centre|
Ballynahinch United Swifts
Swifts 2 – 4 Newcastle Young Boys
|Competition:||NADAFL Div 1|