United entertained Mossley YM at Millbridge last Saturday and following what was a good day’s work they turned in a 3-0 win which gives if they repeat this performance in their remaining games they might just escape relegation.
This game burst into life in the 20th minute when Johnny Stevenson slammed home a shot from around the penalty spot during a scramble in the Mossley penalty area.
The visitors pressed for an equaliser but they created little and the defensive barrier of Davis, Patterson, Dickson and Stuart McMullan provided a platform for this victory given their straightforward approach to clearing their lines. John McMenamin provided a safe pair of hands in the goalkeeper position.
United’s midfield of Ian McMullan, Gavin Crawford, Ben Wilson and Scott Brashaw held the ball comfortably with Brashaw linking effectively with forwards Ross Murray and Johnny Stevenson.
In the second half United came out with a purpose not only to defend their lead but also to increase their it and it was teenager Ross Murray who as a constant thorn in the Mossley defence scored United’s second on 50 minutes when he smashed the ball home after good work by Stevenson. Crawford went close minutes later when he shot over after a serious bit of misunderstanding in the visitors defence.
On the hour mark Murray made it 3 -0 when the Mossley defence waited for an offside call against Stevenson however he had never made any attempt to go for the ball and the quick thinking teenager scampered onto the loose ball to coolly finish past the goal keeper.
Sadly the game got rather physical in the latter parts of the game and manager Alan Davis replaced a few of his senior players because of the danger of them being sent off such was the provocation being dished out. Greg Allison, John Hill and Ben Onuoha came into the game and played excellently to maintain one of the few clean sheets of United’ season so far.
Ballynahinch United Swifts secured a derby win against Drumaness when the two teams played each other at the Assumption playing fields on Saturday. A hat trick from Alan Massey and another from Craig Tate gave them a valuable three points.
United entertained Chimney Corner in this first round Intermediate Cup game at Millbridge last Saturday. The match had been scheduled to take place the previous week however a waterlogged ground had contributed to its cancellation.
The visitors were an unknown quantity however in the first fifteen minutes United’s goalkeeper Michael Vladeanu had made three one on one saves to keep his team in the game.
Central defender Alan Patterson went over on his ankle after twenty minutes and he was replaced by Alex Burtney with Corey Fitzpatrick switching to defence. At this point United had settled into the game and had forced a number of corners and saves from the visiting keeper. Within ten minutes on being on the pitch Alex Burtney has scored two goals following combinations with Ross Murray and Ian McMullan and his efforts were added to by Stuart McMullan who made it 3 – 0. In midfield David Kelly and Gavin Crawford worked tirelessly to deny the visitors possession while defensively Jack Davis, Scott Brashaw and the Fitzpatrick brothers Corey and Dylan stood up to anything that came at them.
Having gone in 3 – 0 up at half time things looked good for the home team however the second half turned out to be a stressful 45 minutes for management and supporters.
In fairness to Chimney Corner they came out all guns a blazing in the second half and their efforts were rewarded with a penalty on the hour mark which gave them something to fight for. United weathered the initial storm but could not find the fluency they had in the first half.Conceding another goal late in the game kept everyone on the edge of their seat to the end but credit to the players who battled hard to keep their win. United will entertain Mid Ulster side Craigavon City in the next round in mid-November.
United entertained NAFL Division 1B promotion contenders Barn United at the Millbridge last Saturday. Having taken four points from two games against Grove and Barn a few weeks ago United were anxious to bounce back from a disappointing home defeat the previous week to Portaferry.
It was the visitors who started the strongest and despite the loss of their leading scorer during the week to Premier League side East Belfast they looked like a very accomplished outfit that moved the band around with ease. United’s defensive line-up of Davis, Brashaw, Patterson and Dickson had their work cut out from the start with returning goalkeeper Hagi [Michael Vladeanu] making several excellent saves. It took about ten minutes before the home team were able to get a decent attack together however they almost scored when having been awarded a free kick outside the penalty area David Kelly’s shot ricochet’s off the Barn wall and struck the base of the post. After this United forced a number of corners through the tenacity of midfielders Allison, Kelly, Crawford and Stuart McMullan and the intelligent runs of Ross Murray and Ian McMullan. In the 20th minute this hard work was rewarded with a goal when a defender under pressure from Crawford at a corner headed into his own net.
Barn laid siege to the United goal for a period of time after this but could not get a breakthrough and from a breakaway the Barn goalkeeper brought Stuart McMullan down and David Kelly scored the resultant kick to make it 2-0.
In the second half United toiled to preserve their lead with substitutes Burtney, Fitzpatrick and Hill joining the fray to add much needed energy. Both Ian McMullan and Corey Fitzpatrick had excellent opportunities to score in one on one situation but they failed to do so.
Barn scored in the 87th minute to make it a very difficult closing period however United held on to claim a deserved three points on a day when most of the so called strugglers also achieved victories.
This Saturday there is a break from league action when United entertain one of Northern Ireland’s most famous clubs Chimney Corner in the 1st Round of the Junior Cup. While they are no longer the force they once were they will nevertheless give United a tough game. The kick-off is at 1.30pm.
United travelled to Carrickfergus for this league encounter following their first win of the season the previous week. Barn United are currently positioned in the top four in the division so this would prove to be a stern challenge. The early exchanges were fairly even with United’s rear guard of Jack Davis, Alan Patterson, Scott Brashaw and Paul Dickson defending resolutely. In midfield Greg Allison, Gavin Crawford, David Kelly and Stuart McMullan kept possession of the ball whilst also preventing the home team from getting the ball to their dangerous forwards. Ian McMullan and Ross Murray worked tirelessly in their forward positions giving the Barn defenders little peace throughout the whole game.
United’s hard work was undone in the 35th minute when a Barn winger cut in from the left and ran across the penalty area before unleashing a shot which went into the net despite a great effort by John McMenamin to save it. Despite this set back United pressed forward and when they won a corner before half time Alan Patterson rose at the back post to head home Jack Davis’s superb delivery. The second half followed the trend of the first with the home team taking the lead again after 65 minutes through a slice of good fortune when a deflected shot crept into the net despite McMenamin clawing it onto the post in a desperate attempt to save it.
As United pressed for an equaliser the game opened up and the home team almost took a two goal lead however McMenamin pulled off a spectacular save to keep his team in it.
Manager Alan Davis introduced all three of his substitutes, Ben Wilson, Alex Burtney and Corey Fitzpatrick, in an effort to breathe new life into his team and it most certainly did the trick. Birthday boy Ian McMullan was the hero for United as he ran onto a through ball to crash the ball past the home goalkeeper to give United a deserved and hard earned point.
Next Saturday United entertain Portaferry in a league game at Millbridge.
Last Saturday was the traditional cup final celebrations at the Millbridge which started at 2.00pm with a match featuring two teams made up of over and under 30’s which provided great entertainment and lots of fun as well as seven goals.
Despite going a few goals down the under 30’s stormed back to win 4-3. Each player taking part made a contribution to support David Griffiths who sustained a broken leg earlier in the season playing for the 2nds and a presentation was made to David prior to the player’s awards event.
Following the game everybody moved to the clubhouse were they enjoyed a buffet meal followed by the annual end of season prize giving. Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie in his opening remarks thanked all those who had worked tirelessly behind the scenes to organise and finance the club or maintain its Millbridge facilities. He highlighted the stewardship of Treasurer Gareth Bingham and the diligence of groundsman Jimmy Brown who although present is currently recovering from a knee operation. He thanked the many club sponsors for their continued support and the supporters who turned up in their numbers throughout the season which was very much appreciated.
Referring to the first team’s relegation disappointing as it was he thanked former manager Keith Hamilton for his unstinting efforts and expressed the club’s gratitude to Scott Brashaw and Ross Hayes for stepping in to take in the role until the end of the season.
One shining light in the season was the introduction of an almost entirely youth based second team managed by Alan Davis and Paul Allison which had received considerable plaudits from within the Newcastle league and from which a number of players had joined the first team squad acquitting themselves very well.
In closing the Chairman refereed to the appointment of Alan Davis and Paul Allison as first team managers with Gareth Bingham and Davy Teggarty taking over the seconds. He assured them that the club committee would give them 100% support and he asked the players and supporters to do the same as we all try to take the club forward.
The awards which were presented by the first and second team managers were as follows:
Players Player of the Year: Gavin Crawford.
Managers Player of the Year: Jack Davis.
Leading Scorer: Gavin Crawford.
Players Player of the Year: Ross Murray.
Managers Player of the Year: Alex Burtney.
Leading Scorer: Ross Murray.
Young Player of the Year: Jack Davis.
Overall Leading Club Scorer: Ross Murray.
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