Irish Cup: Ballynahinch United 0 v 1 Sirocco Works

United entertained Sirocco Works in this second round Irish Cup tie and went down by a single goal following a fairly dour encounter in which both teams created few scoring opportunities. Long periods of play were centred on the middle of the park with both defences coping with whatever was thrown at them. United had Simon Jackson back up front and Gavin Crawford restored to the centre of midfield.

United’s best chance of the first half came following a shot from Jackson which was superbly saved by the Sirocco keeper while Brain McMullan in the home goal got his fingers to a shot which he managed to get over the bar.

Sirocco took the lead in the 40th minute from a free kick after a foul by Davy Boal. The kick from near the by-line evaded Brian McMullan and seemed to go into the net of a forward who would have known little about it.

In the second half United pressed forward but they were unable to create any real openings. In the closing stages of the game Ian Boal was set free on the right side of the penalty area and as the Sirocco keeper ran out to block his path he clipped to ball goal ward. The home crowd were ready to cheer as the effort looked for all in the world to be going into the net but it bounced agonisingly wide of the post and into the side netting.

This week United travel to play Sirocco in a league game at Ballyskeagh.

Ballynahinch United 1 v 1 Dunmurry YM

United entertained Dunmurry YM at the Millbridge on Saturday in a league game. Encounters between these teams have traditionally been close and this one was no different.

United dominated the opening exchanges and should have been ahead however the underside of the crossbar came to the rescue of Dunmurry YM in the 10th minute following great work by McMullan while their keeper produced an outstanding save from an Adam Herron thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area that looked goal bound all the way.

The home side were playing some great football however the lack of a goal to provide that extra bit of encouragement and the absence of new striker Steven Kennedy through illness was a disappointment for the large contingent of supporters who were looking forward to his home debut.

Defensively United were well organised with Davy Boal, Ross Hayes, McCauley Foster and Adam Herron dominating however it was the visitors who breached the United goal when a forward toe poked a loose ball into the roof of the net giving Brain McMullan no chance.

In the second half, United surged forward in search of an equaliser with Hunter, Brashaw and Smyth linking very well however the Dunmurry rear-guard were in no mood to give up their lead.

The introduction of substitutes Craig Bowman and Scott McKibbin together with a change of formation gave United a significant territorial advantage with Cheever’s getting more service and the forcing a number of corners.

Smyth who is one of the smaller players on the pitch almost scored in the 70th minute when he rose to head wide under pressure however the visitors did not learn their lesson and when McMullan sent over another well placed corner Jay Smyth was in the right place to head the ball into the net.

In the closing minutes the game became very open and McMullan in the United goals had to be at his best defending a number of well-placed free kicks while at the other end Ross Hayes almost won the game for United when he climbed above the Dunmurry YM defence to head goal ward but the keeper managed to grab the ball.

This was a hard earned point for United however they fully deserved it for the quality of their play and percentage of play.