Both teams were in action at the weekend with the firsts away to Dundonald, while the Swifts hosted Kilmore Rec II.
Both matches were preceeded by a minute’s silence before kick-off following the passing of Jimmy Brown’s wife, Georgina.
At the Billy Neill Playing Fields, United kicked off, in their sharp Blue and Yellow strip against the Black and Red of the home team.
And it was the Blue’s who looked most likely to score first with a number of chances created, including two corners that somehow evaded everyone in the penalty area and bounced through the melee of players.
Gavin Crawford came closest with a low left foot strike that looked destined for the bottom corner, but was well held by the oppositions ‘keeper.
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts they found theselves 1 – 0 down when a Dundonald winger was given too much space and sneaked into the penalty area and smashed the ball into the net to give the home team the lead.
A second shortly followed when a Dundonald runner wasn’t tracked and was able to slot it home to double the lead.
United pushed again until the end of the half but were still unable to find the net or connect with the right final ball when it mattered.
The second half continued in the same vein, United looked better and Dundonald struggled to contain their advances. A long throw found Alan Patterson steaming into the box and the ball cannoned off his head onto the foot of the post and behind the line, before being clawed back by the Dundonald ‘keeper.
Despite the appeals and pleads from the Blues, the referee didn’t award the goal. The sly grins from Dundonalds players said it all, and many admitted it had well crossed the line during and after the game. A quick look at Goal Line Technology would’ve shown it clearly.
Aggrieved, United continued to attack but got caught on the break. A swift move set the Dundonald winger on his way and his cross was bundled in from close range.
Deflated but not defeated, United rallied again but still couldnt convert their chances with Ian McMullan, Ross Murray and Alex Burtney missing opportunites.
A rare home corner was cleared off the line by Stuart McMullan but it wasn’t long before they added another to their tally when an attacker was uphended in the box by Stuart.
The spot kick was duly converted and consigned Ballynahinch to defeat.
Ballynahinch United Swifts
Elsewhere back at The Millbridge a match that would be worthy of being first on Match Of The Day was played.
The Swifts didn’t start so swiftly and found themselves 3 – 0 down within the first 10 minutes. A disasterous start that took the smile off everyone’s face, even Matthew Murnin.
Despite that, player-manager Gareth Bingham got his troops back on track. The playmaker grabbed the game by the scruff and threaded a ball through from the right which found Cameron McKissick who was able to pull one back for the home side.
However, 3 – 1 soon became 4 – 1 when Kilmore bagged again.
But United’s young team pressed hard while Bingham pulled the strings from midfield with the pizzazz of Pirlo, in the mould of Molby.
A sublime dinked pass from the stalwart in the centre set the Swifts striker free. Begging to be converted, all David Griffiths had to do was roll it into the net, and so he did. “The best pass I’ve ever seen, even I’d have scored.” the ref uttered at full-time.
Debutant Yasin Ouldhamlet made it 4 – 3 after David Griffith’s initial effort was saved and rebounded back to set up an easy finish from inside the box. Head over heels with scoring, Yasin’s celebration was something The Millbridge has never seen before with a succession of backflips to wow the crowd.
With Bingham’s hairdryer treatment still ringing in their ears, the second half saw the Swifts step up a gear, and young James came off the bench.
Kilmore couldn’t handle the onslaught of pressure driving their way and soon gave away a dangerous freekick 25 yards out. Graeme McMullan stepped up! The ‘keeper got a hand to the effort but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Swifts from drawing level. 4 – 4!
The unlikely comeback was complete, but there was still time for more. Whatever the management team said at half-time, it clearly worked.
Gareth and his brother Ross continued to boss the midfield like the Longstaff brothers at St James Park against Man Utd. Their dominance paid off again and The Swifts recovery was soon completed.
With the composure and guise of Jordan Henderson, Gareth Bingham grazing around the The Millbridge graced the home audience with yet another assist – his third of the afternoon – and David Griffiths netted to give the home team the lead.
They say life gives you only one chance. If you don’t use it, Bingham will create another for you.
Griffiths’ second of the afternoon put the Swifts ahead for the first time during the match and completed the comeback in what one quarter has dubbed “Millbridge-anbul”!
Matthew Murnin’s smile was back too!
United saw out the game with Daniel Douglas and Niall Tyndall staying composed and keeping possession at the back, while Ryan Rooney and youth team player Eden Reid stayed solid to ensure the Swifts maintained a 5 – 4 victory!
Ballynahinch United Swifts
Swifts 5 – 4 BUFC
David Griffiths x 2
|Competition:||NADAFL Div 1|
Dundonald 4 – 0 BUFC
|Competition:||NAFL Div 1B|
|Ground:||Billy Neill Playing Fields|
Our next draw will take place on 8 February at The Millbridge.
Last Man Standing
Our last man standing competition kicked off at the weekend with an impressive number of entries. More information will be posted soon on social media and at Last Man Standing