Match Report: Ballynahinch United 1 v 1 Colin Valley

United played their first home match at Millbridge in over two months last Saturday on a pitch that was just about playable and one that the players aching limbs will not forget in a hurry. The visitors Colin Valley are playing in Division 1B for the first time this season having been promoted last year and to date they have acquitted themselves very well. From the outset it was obvious that United would have their hands full and so it proved to be.

The slick passing and movement of the visitor’s forward line caused the United defence of Alex Miller, Ethan Majury, Ross Hayes, Dalton Tate and Stuart McMullan serious problems from the outset requiring their midfield colleagues Ben Wilson and Gavin Crawford to help out. Their efforts were thwarted however in the 8th minute when Colin Valley converted a superb move with Bryan McMullan given no chance from close quarters.

United stepped up a gear after this prompted by Scott Brashaw in central midfield and several chances were created for Aaron Cheevers and Stuart Hunter. Indeed Stuart Hunter was really unlucky when his header came off the crossbar and was scrambled away on the half hour mark.

In the second half manager Keith Hamilton reorganised his team with Scott Brashaw reverting to central defence and Gareth McMullan coming into the forward line and this game the home team a different dimension to their play. Dalton Tate who moved into central midfield had a great shot superbly saved by the Colin Valley keeper as the visitors defence came under increased attack. On the hour mark United were level when Gareth McMullan scored from the penalty spot after Stuart Hunter was brought down by the Colin Valley goal keeper when he was in on goal. The visitors rounded on the referee with one of their central defenders getting a red card for foul and abusive language while the keeper received a yellow card for foiling what was a clear goal scoring opportunity with not a single defender even close.

Despite playing with ten men the visitors continued to be very positive causing United quite a few problems and testing Bryan McMullan who made several good saves and interceptions. At the other end United added attacking options in Dee Stewart and Ian McMullan as they probed for a winner. Dee Stewart had the best opportunity when he got his head on a left wing free kick from Stuart McMullan but his effort was well saved. At the end of the day both teams will have been happy enough with the draw.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 0 v 2 Ballynahinch Olympic

Goals in each half from Stephen Megoran and Niall Walsh secured three points and the bragging rights in the early part of the season from this exciting derby game at the Millbridge last Saturday.

United in their new kit which was generously sponsored by BEC Electrical. The players and committee of BUFC are very appreciative of the continuing support BEC have given season after season by supplying new strips.
United in their new kit which was generously sponsored by BEC Electrical. The players and committee of BUFC are very appreciative of the continuing support BEC have given season after season by supplying new strips.

Millbridge was packed by supporters from both sides each keen to encourage their side on to victory and in the early exchanges it was the home team who did most of the attacking with Johnny Stevenson going close in the opening minutes. Greg Allison caused the Olympic defence considerable trouble in the early stages of the game putting in a succession of crosses that lead to several corners one of which led to a Matty Shaw header being cleared off the goal line.

Olympic took the lead after ten minutes when Megoran’s left wing cross from thirty odd yards looped high over United keeper Bryan McMullan to drop under the cross bar into the net. This was a very lucky break for the visitors which gave them an advantage in the game which they worked tirelessly to hold onto. It was a cruel blow to United’s defence of Alex Miller, Davy Boal, Matty Shaw and Stuart McMullan who had restricted Olympics’ forward threat.

On the half hour mark United had a genuine claim for a penalty when Alan Patterson was bundled over from behind in the act of shooting for goal however referee Mark Domican did not share the United supporter’s opinion.

In the second half United pressed for an equaliser with Dalton Tate, Stuart Hunter and JJ Carlisle prominent however Olympic worked tirelessly to reduce the number of scoring opportunities with their keeper in superb form.

Olympic got their second midway through the second half when Niall Walsh rose above the United defence to head home a superb right wing cross past Bryan McMullan. They could well have been three up when they missed a penalty after Boal, who was sent off for a second bookable offence, had brought down an attacker however the spot kick came back off the crossbar.

United introduced Gareth McMullan and Dee Stewart to the fray and they combined very well when Stewarts shot was headed goal wards by McMullan only for the Olympic keeper to miraculously palm it over the bar.

This was an encouraging start from Olympic who have high hopes for the season ahead while the United supporters will have been encouraged by a battling performance from a team that was missing six players through injury.

United now have a succession of away games against Rathfern Rangers [last night], Ballywalter [Saturday] and next week against opponents who have to be confirmed before they meet Valley Rangers in the Irish Cup on Saturday 22nd August.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 1 v 4 East Belfast

United entertained one of the Division 1B favorites on Saturday last and despite a valiant performance they were well beaten.

East Belfast arrived at the Millbridge having only lost one league game and from the kick off they were rampant moving the ball with speed and accuracy. United who were missing a raft of experienced players withstood this early onslaught with Brashaw, Majury, Herron, McCaffrey and Stuart McMullan making some timely tackles and goal keeper Bryan McMullan a few vital saves.

The visitors defence were getting things fairly easy in the opening ten minutes but once United got possession things changed and the pace of Cheevers caused them major problems.

East Belfast took the lead after 15 minutes when a speculative shot from outside the penalty area struck the inside of the post and went in giving McMullan no chance.

On 20 minutes Aaron Cheevers broke free and as he raced towards the penalty area he was pulled back and United were awarded a free kick. The lively midfielder took the kick himself and his superbly placed cross was touched over the line by Gareth McMullan.

The game became more even and the East Belfast defence were coming under increased pressure. Unfortunately an overzealous challenge from forward Ian McMullan was punished with a straight red card and the visitors capitalised on their numerical superiority. During a penalty area scramble one of their players went down following a fairly innocuous challenge and they scored from the penalty spot. As half time approached United’s inability to clear their lines gave East Belfast the opportunity to increase their lead and they took it with open arms.

In the second half United came out with a renewed spirit and despite having a player less they dominated play for the majority of the half with Kelly, Tate, Cheevers and Stuart McMullan in the thick of things. Teenage substitutes Graeme McMullan and Jack Patterson also made a contribution but despite all their possession the team lacked that killer instinct.

Having soaked up everything that United could throw at them the visitors  came more into the game and despite having a player sent off in the closing minutes they scored again late on.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 1 v 2 New Buildings [after extra time]

A packed Millbridge was treated to a real hum dinger of a cup tie at this 1st Round Intermediate Cup game.

In the early part of the match it was United who had the better of the exchanges however they were disrupted by the loss of midfielder David Kelly after only ten minutes with a dead leg sustained in the very first challenge. They should have been ahead too but Gareth McMullan and Greg Allison failed to capitalise on the openings created. As the first half progressed the visitors enjoyed a greater share of the possession and lone forward Matty Smith was proving hard to handle for defenders Boal, Hayes, Herron and Majury. It was Smith who opened the scoring for New Buildings when a misplaced pass was intercepted and a quick through ball saw the forward close in on Brian McMullan who made a valiant effort to save his shot but to no avail.

In the second half United had the strong wind in their backs and gradually as the half progressed they took control of the game creating quite a few openings. Dalton Tate who had been relatively quiet in the first half moved further forward and he got on the end of Gavin Crawford cross to volley a shot goal ward only to see the keeper get a fingertip to it and see it cannon off the crossbar. In the 60 minute United were level when an exchange of passes with JJ Carlisle saw Davy Boal venture forward and unleash an outstanding shot which whizzed into the net.

Minutes later United had a goal disallowed when the New Buildings keeper spilled a high cross from Stuart McMullan at the feet of Aaron McCaffrey who touched it over the line but the referee adjudged that the keeper had been fouled in the build-up. United pressed continually and Ross Hayes saw his downward header bounce of the crossbar to safety.

The game went into extra time with United again pressing however neither team created any clear cut chances and the game was settled minutes before the end of the first half of extra time when Wayne Glenn crossed a ball from the touchline some forty or fifty yards from goal and with Brian McMullan who had been a virtual spectator for the previous fifty odd minutes back pedalling furiously the ball dropped in under the crossbar.

The visitors put every man they could muster behind the ball to repel United’s vain attempt to equalise and they held out for a fortuitous win however they have to be congratulated for a good performance throughout for such a youthful team.

St Patricks YM 4 v 2 Ballynahinch United

United travelled to the Olympia Leisure Centre for this league encounter against top three side St Patricks YM on their all-weather surface.

It was the home team, not surprisingly who were on the front foot from early on as they were used to the pitch however United, who like to play the ball on the ground soon adapted.

Having settled into the game it was disappointing that they fell behind after 12 minutes when some slack marking from a corner left a St Patrick’s player free to side foot the ball into the net.

United continued to play attractive football and it was no surprise when they equalised on the 15 minute mark. A good interception from Ross Hayes led to a long run from Scott Brashaw who exchanged passes with Lee Maxwell and Aaron Cheevers before the ball broke for Gareth McMullan to stroke it into the net. On 20 minutes United went head when Gareth McMullan got his second after a scramble in the penalty area. His hooked lob went over the home keepers head and dropped into the empty net.

The home team were level on the half hour mark when a cross from left to right wing was superbly headed into the net from the edge of the penalty area to give Brian McMullan no chance.

United were reduced to ten men when Davy Boal was dismissed for a second bookable offence moments after the equaliser. This was an extremely harsh decision as the opponent ran into the defender who had made no attempt to tackle him and could not possibly have got out of the way. It was disappointing to see the home team players and officials pressurising the referee to produce the second yellow card.

St Patricks went 3-2 ahead in the 35th minute through a headed goal after a prolonged goal mouth scramble.

In the second half United enjoyed long periods of possession and had a number of shots on goal from Crawford, Jackson, Kelly and Gareth McMullan but they were unable to get the break that their endeavour deserved.

All three substitutes, Ian Boal, Johnny Gibson and Ethan Majury were introduced early in the second period however it was the home team who got the only goal of the second half when a Brashaw clearance fell to one of their players to shoot home.

United never gave up and indeed never really looked like they were a player short as Aaron Cheevers, Stuart McMullan and Scott Brashaw worked tirelessly with the ball to create openings which unfortunately whizzed over the bar or wide of the post.

This Saturday United entertain Hillsborough side Downshire YM who have improved of late and who will provide difficult opposition.