The Swifts had Ardglass Colts as the visitors at Millbridge on Saturday and in an entertaining game they secured all three points with three excellent second half goals.
The first half was relatively even with Ardglass going close on several occasions necessitating a lot of hard work defensively from King, McNeill, McMenamin and Bonner in support of keeper Johnny McGreevy. Paul King had Unitedâ€™s best opportunity when his 25 yard free kick hit the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.
After a scoreless first half things burst into action when the always lively Jack Patterson dashed down the wing and crossed to Aaron McCaffrey who volleyed an unstoppable shot into the net. Patterson led the way again when another left wing cross was met by the hard working Stuart Wilcox who headed his team into a 2 â€“ 0 lead.
Patterson and his midfield colleagues Massey, Wilcox and Gareth Bingham were in total command at this stage but they were unable to increase their lead thanks to some excellent defending by the Ardglass team. Swifts manager Davy Taggerty introduced a trio of replacements in Nathan Farquhar, Matthew Manley and Ross Bingham and with Farquhar playing some neat football spreading the ball to all parts of the field it looked almost certain that they would score again.
The final goal came following a run down the right wing by Ross ‘Chris’ Bingham who unleashed a shot that looked as if it would land on the Downpatrick Road. In fact it dipped viciously under the cross bar and the Ardglass keeper at full stretch, managed to claw it out but the ever alert Matthew Manley ran in to fire the ball into the net before the keeper could recover.
This week the Swifts are away to Dromore Leisure Centre to play Banbridge Boys Club.
The Swifts were at home to Killough 2nds last Saturday however they paid the penalty for their failure to take the early chances they created. A missed second half penalty when the score was 2-0 could well have made an impact. Aaron McCaffrey did score a penalty late on.
The Albion travelled to Downpatrick with both a youthful and much changed team and lost 4-2. Their performance for the majority of the game had been excellent and they led by 2-0 with goals from Alan McMullan going into the last quarter until their goalkeeper got himself sent off.
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 Masseyâ€™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.
The Swifts travelled to Bear Park, Newcastle for this league encounter against Tollymore seconds. It was the visitors who enjoyed the majority of the opening exchanges controlling play for long periods of time with Johnny Stevenson holding the ball up well for strike partner Aaron McCaffrey while the midfield of Graeme McMullan, Gareth Bingham, Alan Massey and Greg Allison worked tireless in both attack and defence. The Swifts lost defender Shaun Bonner with an ankle injury on the half hour mark and he was replaced by Jamie McPhail.
The Swifts took the lead after thirty five minutes when a long free kick from Glynn Robinson flew over the heads of the Tollymore defence into the path of the Aaron McCaffrey who controlled the ball before gliding it into the net.
In the closing period of the half McMullan, McCaffrey, Stevenson, Allison and Bingham all had got efforts either saved or go wide of goal.
In the second half Tollymore started brightly causing the Swifts defence of Ethan Majury, Scott McNeill, Glynn Robinson and Jamie McPhail lots of problems however they held them at bay and slowly played their way back into the game.
Aaron McCaffrey gave his team a 2-0 lead after fifty minutes when he converted a loose ball after great work from Stevenson. Indeed Stevenson should have been awarded a penalty after he was bundled over from behind inside the six yard area.
The two goal lead was never going to be enough and when Tollymore scored on the hour mark the alarm bells started to ring and never more so when they hit the post with a header that looked for all the world as if it was going in. A few saves from Johnny McGreevy were required as well before the two goal margin was restored when Johnny Stevenson crashed the ball home after great interplay between Bingham, Massey and Allison.
This was a very good display against a workmanlike Tollymore side that were well served by veteransRay Kendall and Mark Hughes and a number of young players who displayed excellent ball skills. Swifts manager Davy Teggarty will be happy with the result and a lot of the general play however he will know that his team were wasteful in front of goal.
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