Match Report: Barn United 2 v 2 Ballynahinch United

United travelled to Carrickfergus for this league encounter following their first win of the season the previous week. Barn United are currently positioned in the top four in the division so this would prove to be a stern challenge. The early exchanges were fairly even with United’s rear guard of Jack Davis, Alan Patterson, Scott Brashaw and Paul Dickson defending resolutely. In midfield Greg Allison, Gavin Crawford, David Kelly and Stuart McMullan kept possession of the ball whilst also preventing the home team from getting the ball to their dangerous forwards. Ian McMullan and Ross Murray worked tirelessly in their forward positions giving the Barn defenders little peace throughout the whole game.

United’s hard work was undone in the 35th minute when a Barn winger cut in from the left and ran across the penalty area before unleashing a shot which went into the net despite a great effort by John McMenamin to save it. Despite this set back United pressed forward and when they won a corner before half time Alan Patterson rose at the back post to head home Jack Davis’s superb delivery. The second half followed the trend of the first with the home team taking the lead again after 65 minutes through a slice of good fortune when a deflected shot crept into the net despite McMenamin clawing it onto the post in a desperate attempt to save it.

As United pressed for an equaliser the game opened up and the home team almost took a two goal lead however McMenamin pulled off a spectacular save to keep his team in it.

Manager Alan Davis introduced all three of his substitutes, Ben Wilson, Alex Burtney and Corey Fitzpatrick, in an effort to breathe new life into his team and it most certainly did the trick. Birthday boy Ian McMullan was the hero for United as he ran onto a through ball to crash the ball past the home goalkeeper to give United a deserved and hard earned point.

Next Saturday United entertain Portaferry in a league game at Millbridge.

Match Report: Ballynahinch United 4 v 0 Grove United

United entertained Grove United in this NAFL Division 1B league match and yes if you had to have a second look at the score line, yes United did win and convincingly at that.

United have not had the best of seasons so far following the loss of a number of senior players who have chosen to play elsewhere however the club still retain a cadre of  players who along with a strong group of young players have been working very hard to reverse the clubs fortunes. While Rome wasn’t built in a day manager Alan Davis and his assistant Paul Allison will have seen very positive signs from this performance.

Right from the start United were on the attack with a strong wind in their backs and on 15 minutes David Kelly waltzed through the visitors defence to slot the ball past the advancing keeper. On twenty minutes, team captain Gavin Crawford pounced on a loose ball to drive the ball into the Grove net from twenty-five yards.

Grove, despite going behind proved to be a constant threat and the United defence of Paul Dickson, Alan Patterson, Scott Brashaw and Jack Davis had to be on their toes while keeper John McMenamin blocked a number of shots to keep the visitors out. Ian McMullan and Ross Murray were proving to be a real handful for the Grove defence while the midfield of Stuart McMullan, David Kelly, Gavin Crawford and Gregg Allison worked tirelessly.

In the second half United faced an onslaught from Grove United however the defence held resolute with United having a number of forays forward and these proved to be productive when Ian McMullan scored a third on the hour mark after Stuart McMullan’s shot had come back off the crossbar. This took the pressure off somewhat however the visitors continued to cause problems particularly in midfield. The introduction of substitutes Ben Wilson, Alex Burtney and John Hill gave United extra energy to exploit defensive spaces that were created as Grove pressed for a goal. United’s fourth came when Alex Burtney found space on the left side of the penalty area and while his initial shot was saved he passed the ball across the six-yard area for Gregg Allison to side foot home.

There was a universal sigh of relief and justified excitement amongst players, management, committee and supporters alike when the final whistle was sounded. While there are many hurdles to be overcome throughout the season, this performance, if it can be repeated on a more consistent basis gives more than a glimmer of hope.

NAFL Clarence Cup 1st Round: Abbey Villa 3 v 1 Ballynahinch United

After a break of over two months Ballynahinch United got their season back on track with a game having suffered cancellation after cancellation due to the recent inclement weather. Believe it or not this game was moved from venue to venue across North Down to get it played and it finally took place on the council pitch at Kircubbin which was in excellent condition.

United were up against Abbey Villa in one of the leading contenders in NAFL Division 1A and not having played for some time was evident as the home team went into a 2-0 lead after fifteen minutes with goals from Adam Arthurs and Michael Doran.

Most of the first half hour proved to be hard going for United with their defensive line up of Alex Miller, Ross Hayes, Scott Brashaw and Stuart McMullan having to work hard and give goal keeper Bryan McMullan some cover. As the first half progressed the midfield of Dalton Tate, Gavin Crawford, Matty Shaw, Aaron Cheevers and Stuart Hunter got a lot more possession to give Ian McMullan some service and support up front. In the 40th minute Ian McMullan scored following a goalmouth scramble and as the first half ended the visitors were well into the game.

At the start of the second half it was Abbey Villa who made the early running however once United got hold of the ball the situation changed with wave after wave of attack descending on the Villa goal and in the 50th minute United got the opportunity to level the game when Ian McMullan was upended in the penalty area. Up stepped the usually reliable Dalton Tate who sadly got under his spot kick to launch it over the bar.

Abbey Villa got a third from a Michael Doran header on the hour mark and this made United’s task all the more harder. United manager Keith Hamilton brought on Dee Stewart, Gregg Allison and Ethan Majury in an effort to get back into the game. Majury, Stuart McMullan and Alex Millar all had long range efforts from free kicks but they could not get the opening that would have made for an exciting finish.

This was United’s first game for almost ten weeks and given the quality of the opposition they were facing this was a good performance and it is a credit to the players for keeping themselves in good condition despite the constant disappointments of the previous weeks postponements.

This week United entertain Colin Valley at the Millbridge and it will require a performance of the same quality to secure important league points.

Some photos of saturdays match can be seen below.

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Match Report: Ballynahinch United 3 v 0 Donard Hospital

United entertained old rivals Donard Hospital in this league match at the Millbridge last Saturday. The visitors had been promoted last year after a few years in Division 1C however they have found the higher level that little bit more difficult.

United settled into the game from the first whistle however it was Donard who posed a threat in the opening quarter with their right winger particularly prominent.

On one of their rare forward forages United took the lead in the 10th minute when Ian McMullan latched onto a loose ball to shoot into the corner of the net giving the Donard keeper no chance.

Donard pressed for an equaliser giving the United defence of Miller, Shaw, Majury, Tate and Stuart McMullan lots to think about however they held firm.

Goal scorer Ian McMullan was forced off with a hamstring strain and he was replaced by Johnny Stevenson who on the half hour mark laid the ball back for David Kelly to fire a thunderbolt into the net.

Kelly, Wilson and Brashaw were under a fair degree of pressure in midfield and they combined with their defence to keep Donard at bay while goalkeeper Brian McMullan produced an outstanding save in the 45th minute to prevent a goal.

In the second half Ben Wilson, who was struggling with an injury, was replaced by Gareth McMullan with striker Greg Allison moving into the left back role and Stuart McMullan taking over the central midfield position.

United were happy to surrender possession to Donard and played a containing game which proved very effective and occasionally they attacked with speed. It was from one of these quick breaks that defender Alex Miller found himself in space inside the penalty area and he crashed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3–0.

Donard threw everything at United in the last half hour of the game and it took some serious defending to keep them out. Brian McMullan who has been in great form proved to be a competent last line of defence saving a penalty after Stuart McMullan had been harshly adjudged to have handled in the penalty area following a shot that was driven into him from relatively close range.

Graeme McMullan came on to give the United attack some added vitality and in the closing stages it was the home team who forced a series of corners.

This was another great win for United who will travel to Bloomfield this coming Saturday for another league match.

BUFC Annual Dinner and Awards 2015

BUFC Award winners Gareth Bingham, Graeme McMullan, Ian McMullan, Greg Allison, Ethan Majury, Stuart McMullan and Alan Massey at the clubs Annual Dinner
BUFC Award winners Gareth Bingham, Graeme McMullan, Ian McMullan, Greg Allison, Ethan Majury, Stuart McMullan and Alan Massey at the clubs Annual Dinner

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 both the United and Swifts teams. The following awards were presented:

Swifts
Managers Player of the Year: Gareth Bingham
Players Player of the Year: Graeme McMullan
Leading Scorers: Alan Massey / Graeme McMullan

United
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