Ballynahinch United fresh from their 50th anniversary dinner the previous night were perhaps not surprisingly a little jaded for this game and this showed in the first half when they found themselves 1 â€“ 0 down.
In the second half there was a much improved performance as they laid siege to the Seapatrick goal with wave after wave of attack. The visitors held on to late in the second half with veteran goalkeeper Alan Blackwood who played for United in the 1997 Clarence Cup Final in excellent form. Unitedâ€™s equaliser came from Gregg Allison whose powerful shot from outside the penalty area flew into the net. United were now on the ascendency but they took their eye of the game immediately after scoring and paid the penalty as a Seapatrick forward burst into the penalty area to rifle a shot past Coburn in the United goal. Despite a valiant effort United could not get a second equaliser.
This weekend United will return to league action with a home game against St. Lukeâ€™s with a 7.30pm kick off.
Wellington Recreation provided the opposition at Millbridge for this vital league encounter with both teams occupying the relegation places in Division 1B. Despite an improvement in results the visitors fortunes have changed in recent weeks with their manager resigning while United have had some really encouraging performances particularly against table topping teams.
Obviously a win for the home team was essential and this was exactly what they got in more ways than one. From the outset United were on the front foot attacking on either flank driven on from central midfield by Gavin Crawford and Ben Wilson while Greg Allison and Jack Davis on the right and Stuart McMullan and Aaron Cheevers on the left. The breakthrough came in the 10th minute after a penetrating attack on the left wing saw Stuart McMullan cross for Greg Allison to shoot home. Wellington almost equalised moments later but Brian McMullan blocked the shot for what was his only serious save of the match. Greg Allison increased Unitedâ€™s lead on 21 minutes when he smashed the ball home after Aaron Cheevers had crossed from the right wing. On the half hour mark Matty Shaw crashed the ball off the crossbar.
Just before half time Stuart McMullan raced clear of the visitors defence and crossed for Greg Allison to head home and score his first hat trick for the first team. Wellington reorganised their defence to nullify the threat coming from Unitedâ€™s left flank however the emphasis changed to the right side and within ten minutes another two goals had been scored through headers from Matty Shaw and Gavin Crawford all from right wing crosses. Jack Davis, Matty Shaw and Aaron Cheeverâ€™s swarmed all over the visitors defence resulting in Cheevers scoring on the hour mark to make it 6-0. Jack Davis who has had a superb season since his promotion into the first team scored Unitedâ€™s seventh when he ran into the Wellington penalty area and crash a shot in from ten yards. United never let up in this game scoring a further three goals in the closing quarter with Gavin Crawford crashing a shot into the net from the edge of the penalty area and Aaron Cheevers slipping past the offside trap to score.
First team debutant Scott Cheevers came on for the closing quarter and he made an immediate impact by crashing the ball off the crossbar and in the final minutes he lobbed the onrushing keeper to score his first ever goal at this level and his teams tenth of the game. Defensively United coped easily with the odd forward excursion from the visitors and their back three of Dalton Tate, Scott Brashaw and Paul Dickson regularly joined the attack with Dickson sending several long range shots narrowly wide.
This win took United out of the bottom three but players and management are well aware that a lot of hard work remains to be done in the coming weeks and that starts with this weekendâ€™s visit to Ballywalter.
Ballynahinch United held their annual dinner and awards presentation in the Primrose Restaurant on Saturday night.
Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie welcomed those present and thanked committee, players, supporters and sponsors for all their hard work during what had been a successful season for bothÂ the United and Swifts teams. The following awards were presented:
Managers Player of the Year: Gareth Bingham
Players Player of the Year: Graeme McMullan
Leading Scorers: Alan Massey / Graeme McMullan
Managers Player of the Year: Stuart McMullan
Players Player of the Year: Ethan Majury
Leading Scorer: Ian McMullan
Young Player of the Year: Greg Allison
Club Leading Scorers: Alan Massey / Graeme McMullan
The Golden Boot Award went to first team defender Davy Boal
United travelled to league leaders Newcastle for this league game and came out on the wrong end of a 2 â€“ 0 score line.
Early exchanges between the two sides were even and the United supporters thought that their team should have had a couple of penalties when Paul Dickson was manhandled and bundled over and later on Ian McMullan was tripped as he ran into the penalty area.
The home team took the lead after 25 minutes from a corner when a shot from Brannigan was deflected into his own net by Dalton Tate. Early in the second half United were awarded a penalty when Stuart McMullan was fouled however the usually reliable David Kelly saw his shot well saved by the Newcastle keeper. This was a blow for the visitors as the momentum was moving in their favour and minutes later the home side were 2 â€“ 0 up again from a corner.
The United players allowed their attention to be deflected by a disagreement with the referee over what they thought was an offside decision that he hadnâ€™t given in the build-up. Newcastle took the corner and Gribben was left unmarked to head home.
Manager Keith Hamilton threw on all three of his substitutes Greg Allison, Jack Patterson and Ethan Majury to get back into the game but it was too late as Newcastle defended sternly to remain at the top of the Division 1B league table.
United travelled to the Shore Road, Belfast on Saturday for this league encounter with Grove United – a team who they have not played for a number of years. A strong wind blowing across the pitch made play difficult throughout, however United coped with the conditions much better than they had expected.
The game was end to end throughout with plenty of chances being created by both teams however Unitedâ€™s defence of Hayes, Carlisle and Stuart McMullan provided excellent cover to keeper Brian McMullan.
United opened the scoring on 20 minutes when Johnny Gibson scored a thirty yard screamer of a free kick which gave the Grove keeper no chance. United were very much in the ascendency at this stage with their midfield of Crawford, Ian Boal, Brashaw and Cheevers creating opening for the runs of Gibson and Jackson.
On the half hour mark Ian Boal had a penalty brilliantly saved by the Grove keeper after Gibson had been upended.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first however the slender 1 goal lead never seemed like it would be enough but the introduction of Ian McMullan, Greg Allison and Lee Maxwell gave United a fresh impetus and they were able to get the upper hand with a good finish from Ian McMullan.
United entertain Grove United at Millbridge this Saturday with a 2.00pm kick off.
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