Match Report: Ballynahinch United 3 v 0 Donard Hospital

United entertained old rivals Donard Hospital in this league match at the Millbridge last Saturday. The visitors had been promoted last year after a few years in Division 1C however they have found the higher level that little bit more difficult.

United settled into the game from the first whistle however it was Donard who posed a threat in the opening quarter with their right winger particularly prominent.

On one of their rare forward forages United took the lead in the 10th minute when Ian McMullan latched onto a loose ball to shoot into the corner of the net giving the Donard keeper no chance.

Donard pressed for an equaliser giving the United defence of Miller, Shaw, Majury, Tate and Stuart McMullan lots to think about however they held firm.

Goal scorer Ian McMullan was forced off with a hamstring strain and he was replaced by Johnny Stevenson who on the half hour mark laid the ball back for David Kelly to fire a thunderbolt into the net.

Kelly, Wilson and Brashaw were under a fair degree of pressure in midfield and they combined with their defence to keep Donard at bay while goalkeeper Brian McMullan produced an outstanding save in the 45th minute to prevent a goal.

In the second half Ben Wilson, who was struggling with an injury, was replaced by Gareth McMullan with striker Greg Allison moving into the left back role and Stuart McMullan taking over the central midfield position.

United were happy to surrender possession to Donard and played a containing game which proved very effective and occasionally they attacked with speed. It was from one of these quick breaks that defender Alex Miller found himself in space inside the penalty area and he crashed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3–0.

Donard threw everything at United in the last half hour of the game and it took some serious defending to keep them out. Brian McMullan who has been in great form proved to be a competent last line of defence saving a penalty after Stuart McMullan had been harshly adjudged to have handled in the penalty area following a shot that was driven into him from relatively close range.

Graeme McMullan came on to give the United attack some added vitality and in the closing stages it was the home team who forced a series of corners.

This was another great win for United who will travel to Bloomfield this coming Saturday for another league match.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 0 v 1 Dromara Village

Clarence Cup

The Millbridge was the setting for the first derby game between these two sides for quite a few years and while the football wasn’t very exciting there was no shortage of action as both teams ended the game with nine players.

United entered the game missing Adam Herron due to suspension and the unavailable Paul Dickson however they were buoyed by the return of Aaron Cheevers who transferred to United from Temple Rangers during the week.

The first half was keenly contested with neither of the two goalkeepers seeing any real action however the referee was very much the centre of things booking United players David Kelly, Ross Hayes and Ethan Majury and surprisingly no Dromara Village players despite an equal amount of fouls and confrontations.

United’s best chance came from Aaron McCaffrey whose spectacular overhead kick sailed over the Dromara crossbar.

The second half continued much the same as the first with both teams cancelling each other out however the referee intervened again on the hour mark when he gave Ross Hayes a second yellow card for a foul in the penalty area – an incident that was hotly disputed as any contact was as much due to the Dromara player jumping into the United players back.

The resulting penalty was taken by the Dromara goalkeeper Kieran Gordon but the weak effort was palmed around the post by Bryan McMullan. As a result of the red card, United’s defence had to be reorganised with Gavin Crawford joining Scott Brashaw in the central area with Majury and Davy Boal on either side.

United should have scored after seventy minutes when Dalton Tate and Stuart McMullan combined to put McCaffrey on the left wing and he cut in to cross the ball but the onrushing Ian McMullan couldn’t keep his shot down.

The game truly exploded in the 75 minute with three players, one United and two Dromara, being sent off following a foul on the edge of the Dromara penalty area. This resulted in United’s Davy Boal being set upon by at least half a dozen visiting players with fists and even what appeared to be a ‘Kung Fu’ kick. The referee could easily have sent a lot more players from the field for what was a most disappointing incident.

The only goal came in the 81st minute when Dromara broke away on the right wing and a low cross was palmed out by keeper Bryan McMullan into the path of Dromara forward Johnny Gray who diverted it into the net. This however was not without its controversy either as the ball came at Gray so quickly it hit his chest and then went into the net off his left arm. The referee was so far behind play he could not have seen it and so United’s fate was sealed and the Dromara players and large contingent of supporters celebrated their victory.

In the closing minutes United fought gamely to get back into the game but Dromara held out to go into the second round.

Ballynahinch United 2nds 5 v Banbridge YC 2

The Swifts got back to league action with a home fixture at Drumaness Council Ground against league newcomers Banbridge YC. In a lively first half the Swifts took the lead from the penalty spot when Alan Massey converted after Aaron McCaffrey had been felled in the penalty area.

The visitors equalised with a shot from 25 yards and then took the lead when defender Ross Bingham was unlucky to head past keeper Johnny McGreevy. The Swifts got level when Graeme McMullan, on for the injured Johnny Stevenson, equalised.

David Kelly who was controlling midfield along with Gareth Bingham gave the home side the lead when he carried the ball half the length of the pitch before despatching a shot from twenty yards into the roof of the net.

In the second half the Swifts took control of the game with their defence of Ross Bingham, Glynn Robinson, Scott McNeill and John McMenamin performing in a more controlled manner while Greg Allison caused mayhem on the ring wing. Stuart Wilcox made the score 4-2 when he latched onto Alan Massey’s free kick and Graeme McMullan headed home a cross from Greg Allison to close the scoring at 5-2.

This was a good performance from an almost full strength side which saw the return from injury of Shaun Bonner when he made a second half appearance.

The Swifts play their first game of the season at Millbridge this week when they entertain Valley Rangers 3rds.