Match Report: Ballynahinch United Swifts 2 v 1 Kilmore Rec. 2nds

The Swifts met Kilmore Rec 2nds for the third time in relatively quick succession and this time in the Purdy Cup.

Due to first team call ups manager Alan Davis had to shuffle his team somewhat. There was a strong wind blowing across the Langley Road pitch which made conditions difficult and the Kilmore team settled the quicker of the two. They also took the lead from the penalty spot in the early minutes of the game which brought about a change of formation for the Swifts.

The visitors were calling the shots with the home defence and midfield having to work hard to keep them out however as the first half was nearing its end Graeme McMullan sent Aaron McCaffrey through only to see his shot go narrowly wide. Minutes later Ross Murray who was having a quiet half ran onto an Alex Burtney pass to slot the ball home.

In the second half the Swifts had a slight wind advantage but the overall conditions made flowing football almost impossible. The home defence of Onhua, Annett, Beattie and McMullan coped with Kilmore’s long ball strategy while in midfield King and Hunter started to get the upper hand. The winning goal came from a Hunter pass which found Ross Murray and his shot was parried by the Kilmore keeper however Gareth Bingham was on hand to bundle the ball into the net. In the closing minutes Blaine almost increased their lead but his shot sailed past the post.

In the end the Swifts were pleased to get into the second round of this competition.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United Swifts 2 – 1 Ballynagross Seconds

Ballynahinch United Swifts entertained Ballynagross Seconds at the Millbridge on Saturday last. Manager Alan Davis had to shuffled his squad due to a number of first team call ups and absentees however it gave him the opportunity to see some new faces and some players getting starting places for the first time.

From the start the Swifts settled quickly and played at a high tempo however it was the visitors who took the lead from the first corner of the game. Despite this set back the young Swifts team followed their game plan and were soon on attack and were level within five minutes when Gregg Allison beat the Ballynagross right back for pace to deliver and quality cross which Dave Griffiths slotted home.

Alan Massey and Aaron McCaffrey controlled central midfield opening up the game to both sides of the pitch. Graeme McMullan and Alex Burtney were providing the danger on the left wing with their superb linking overlapping and throwing in dangerous crosses.

Influential in creating the second goal was Craig Tate who pounced terrier like on a startled centre half and his poor clearance fell to Griffiths who struck a superb shot 25yrds out past a started goalkeeper.

In the closing stages of the first half Swifts keeper John McMenamin was called on to make several saves to prevent the half ending all square.

In the second half some adjustments to positions on the park for players ensured to all intent and purposes it was one way traffic as the Swifts tried to create a third goal to put the game out of the oppositions reach. New signing Niall Tyndall, Ben Onhua and Dylan Fitzpatrick coped with the Ballynagross breaks. McMullan who’d hit the bar earlier had another shot saved while Allison through some creative work went close twice but was thwarted by the Ballynagross keeper.

Massey and McCaffrey tried their luck from distance but that third goal proved elusive. New signing Lorenzo Fucas made a substitute appearance along with Blaine and Jay to keep the tempo going.

Ballynagross proved to be an extremely competitive team contributing to an exciting game that despite the Swifts superior possession defended resolutely whist being dangerous on the counter attack. In the end the home side managed the game well particularly in a final frantic five minutes to get take all three points and achieve their third victory of the season.

This weekend the Swifts travel to Kirkistown in the league.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United Swifts 4 v 0 Carryduff Athletic

The Swifts entertained Carryduff Athletic at Millbridge in a league game on Saturday and they were quickly into their stride on 5 minutes when Alan Massey struck a left foot shot which the Carryduff keeper failed to hold and it trickled over the goal line.

The 1-0 lead quickly became 2-0 after Aaron McCaffrey had chased a lost cause into the box and was brought down to gain a penalty. Up stepped Dylan Fitzpatrick to score his first senior goal with a well-placed shot.

The game settled down with Carryduff gaining more possession without causing the home defence much trouble while the Swifts continued with their pressing game and hunting down the ball. Defensively Alex Burtney and Ben Onhua were linking with midfielders, while Ross Hayes fresh from a family holiday made an instant partnership with Dylan Fitzpatrick to thwart a Carryduff team which had been in free scoring mode in their previous games.

Alan Massey and Gregg Allison set about testing the full backs and from such a run Allison had a fine shot saved while Massey tried his luck again with a long range shot which shaved the cross bar.

Johnny Stevenson who was making his first start of the season was leading the line well with Aaron McCaffrey who both did all they were asked to do by forcing errors and creating chances.

The 3rd goal came when a deep hanging cross from Greg Allison found Jack Davis to head home from 8 yards. Davis’s partner in midfield Corey Fitzpatrick was playing a pivoting role in breaking up play which enabled the Swifts to take a commanding 3-0 lead into the half time break.

Carryduff marshalled by former United defender Davy Boal took the game to the Swifts for the first 10mins of the 2nd half and despite all their pressure John McMenamin remained dominant in goal holding crosses as well as making some great saves.

Manager Alan Davis made his 1st change by bringing on the terrier like Craig Tate and within 2mins he found himself on the scoresheet as he sniffed out a rebound from a corner. Other shots from Davis tested the Carryduff keeper while a solo run from Allison almost created a fifth.

The 4-0 score line reflected a great afternoon’s work by all of the fourteen man Swifts squad.

Match Report: Ballyvea IIs 1 v 3 Ballynahinch United Swifts

The Swifts travelled to Kilkeel without last week’s match winner Lee Price and Ross Hayes who were both called up to the first team. With the poor weather conditions the teams had to play on a heavy pitch which deteriorated as the match went on.

In the early exchanges there was little between both sides with Paul King and John McMenamin holding firm at the centre of the Swifts defence, while at the other end Graeme McMullan and Aaron McCaffrey worked tirelessly to cause problems for the Ballyvea defence.

However, mid-way through the first half Ballynahinch took control of the game and, as they pushed forward, started to create chances. The opening goal came following a period of intense pressure on the home side. When Allan Massey rifled the ball into the box, McCaffrey reacted quickest with a powerful diving header that left the keeper with no chance.

It was McCaffrey again who caused problems leading up to the second goal. Clean through, he took the ball round the home keeper who was caught outside his penalty area, only to be sent sprawling. From the resulting free kick Matt Manley stepped up to curl the ball into the top corner of the net from at least 35 yards.

The Swifts were keen to add to their lead and managed to do so spectacularly early in the second half. With Ballyvea again forced to defend in numbers inside their own box the ball broke to Gareth Bingham 25 yards out. Taking a touch with his left foot and shooting with his right, he swept the ball over the defence and the keeper into the top of the net.

As the second half progressed Ballynahinch continued to maintain pressure on the home side until an unusual situation developed. Ballyvea 1sts were playing on an adjacent pitch with an early kick off in the Bobby Dalzell Cup. When their match finished two first team players joined their 2nds to come on as substitutes. While no rules were broken, it caused a distraction for the away side and gave Ballyvea a foothold in the game.

With Ballyvea pushing forward they started to get a few chances of their own, and forced a couple of saves from McGreevy in the Ballynahinch goal, before finally finding the net. A deflected pass from the left finding an unmarked forward in the box who was able to glance the ball home. With twenty minutes left the momentum shifted to the home side and the Swifts were indebted to Stewart Wilcox for a goal line clearance to keep their two goal cushion intact.

However, the game was to take another turn with Ballynahinch stepping up their game. Massey and Bingham dropped deep in midfield and stopped the Ballyvea advance, while Manley, McMullan and McCaffrey pushed further forward to put the home side on the back foot again. Only a goal line clearance from McCaffrey’s shot and the keeper’s save from Griffith’s effort prevented a wider winning margin.

A special mention must go to veteran Ian Blackwood who came on as a substitute only to dislocate one finger and break another. Epitomising the away side’s spirit he played on without complaint and helped Ballynahinch to an excellent away victory.

This week the Swifts travel to Killough for a league encounter.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 1 v 1 Sirocco Works

United entertained Sirocco Works in this league game at the Millbridge on Saturday last. Despite the heavy rain on Friday afternoon and evening grounds man Jimmy Brown had the pitch in immaculate condition although it was unsurprisingly a little soft in places.

The visitors who have been perennial league challengers in recent years have struggled in the early months of this campaign however a recent change of manager has brought on board a number of fresh faces and encouraging results.

The first half was fairly evenly contested but neither team created any decent scoring opportunities despite the end to end nature of the game. The referee was fairly busy though as there were constant breaks in the play for minor fouls which were due more to the slippery conditions as opposed to any maliciousness.

United really got a foot hold in the game in the second half and dominated play although Sirocco were at their most dangerous in this period as they broke from defence with pace and but for several outstanding saves from Brian McMullan they could have found themselves behind.

After an hour United lost the services of Ian McMullan with a hamstring strain and manager Keith Hamilton introduced teenager Greg Allison whose pace caused the visitors considerable problems. The incisive running of Dalton Tate and Scott Brashaw from midfield and defence started to create opening and Aaron McCaffrey was finding space around the penalty area and went close on a few occasions. Paul Dickson who has been unavailable in recent weeks came into the midfield area in place of Ethan Majury and he caused Sirocco problems from corners and free kicks. Indeed he almost made contact with a superbly flighted free kick from Stuart McMullan which sailed narrowly wide of veteran Irish League goal keepers Andy McDonald’s post.

United took the lead in the 75th minute when Tate’s corner wasn’t cleared by the Sirocco defence and McCaffrey claimed his second goal in as many matches with a well drilled shot into the net.

United maintained their grip on the game as Sirocco tried desperately to get into the game. Defensively United’s rear guard of Boal, Hayes, Brashaw and Herron dealt with everything that came their way and with Brian McMullan in assured form behind them it looked like United would secure all three points. The introduction of Gareth McMullan into the forward line for the hard working McCaffrey in the closing minutes added to United’s forward threat particularly as he combined well with Allison to hold the ball up.

As the game entered injury time Sirocco enjoyed a period of possession forcing a number of corners with keeper McDonald adding to their attacking force more by way of a diversion. In one attack which should have been halted for an offside decision an attacker got a couple of shots in but both were comfortably blocked by Adam Herron and when the player, who was holding onto the defender, went to shoot a third time he missed the ball and fell over and referee Moutray awarded a penalty to the astonishment of the home team and supporters. Despite his best efforts Brian McMullan was unable to save the resulting spot kick.

In the remaining minutes of extra time United almost scored the winner from a goal mouth scramble after a corner when Dickson managed to get his toe to a loose ball but a last ditch lunge from a defender managed to get it cleared off the line and United’s last hopes of full points had gone.

This was another good performance from the home team who will feel robbed of a victory by what was a poor decision from an experienced referee who otherwise had a good game. United however need to put that disappointment behind them as they prepare for another home game this Saturday against Rathfern Rangers.