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.
Ballynahinch United Swifts entertained Ballynagross Seconds at the Millbridge on Saturday last. Manager Alan Davis had to shuffled his squad due to a number of first team call ups and absentees however it gave him the opportunity to see some new faces and some players getting starting places for the first time.
From the start the Swifts settled quickly and played at a high tempo however it was the visitors who took the lead from the first corner of the game. Despite this set back the young Swifts team followed their game plan and were soon on attack and were level within five minutes when Gregg Allison beat the Ballynagross right back for pace to deliver and quality cross which Dave Griffiths slotted home.
Alan Massey and Aaron McCaffrey controlled central midfield opening up the game to both sides of the pitch. Graeme McMullan and Alex Burtney were providing the danger on the left wing with their superb linking overlapping and throwing in dangerous crosses.
Influential in creating the second goal was Craig Tate who pounced terrier like on a startled centre half and his poor clearance fell to Griffiths who struck a superb shot 25yrds out past a started goalkeeper.
In the closing stages of the first half Swifts keeper John McMenamin was called on to make several saves to prevent the half ending all square.
In the second half some adjustments to positions on the park for players ensured to all intent and purposes it was one way traffic as the Swifts tried to create a third goal to put the game out of the oppositions reach. New signing Niall Tyndall, Ben Onhua and Dylan Fitzpatrick coped with the Ballynagross breaks. McMullan who’d hit the bar earlier had another shot saved while Allison through some creative work went close twice but was thwarted by the Ballynagross keeper.
Massey and McCaffrey tried their luck from distance but that third goal proved elusive. New signing Lorenzo Fucas made a substitute appearance along with Blaine and Jay to keep the tempo going.
Ballynagross proved to be an extremely competitive team contributing to an exciting game that despite the Swifts superior possession defended resolutely whist being dangerous on the counter attack. In the end the home side managed the game well particularly in a final frantic five minutes to get take all three points and achieve their third victory of the season.
This weekend the Swifts travel to Kirkistown in the league.
The Swifts travelled to Ballykinlar to play table toppers Ballynagross 2nds and despite taking a 2–0 lead into half time with goals from Aaron McCaffery and Gary McCracken they lost 6-2.
The loss of central defender John McMenamin with a serious knee injury was a major factor. John’s injury has been diagnosed as a medial ligament problem and he is hoping to be back playing in the next few months and everyone at BUFC him a speedy recovery.
The 2nds travel to Carryduff this saturday for their last league fixture of February.
A much changed Swifts travelled to Ardglass on Saturday after a few weeks off due to the adverse weather, that coupled with no less than 7 players missing due to injury and work commitments made it a difficult tie against a team that would provide a stern test.
The Swifts started brightly and were putting the Ardglass defence under considerable pressure, if it had not been for the experience of the Ardglass centre half partnership an early goal would of been a strong possibility.
The Swifts were patient in their build up play and waited for the right opportunity, aided by the defence who were firmly in control they were getting closer to breaking the deadlock with every attack. On the half hour mark a quickly taken free kick by Alan Massey caught the Ardglass midfield flat footed, Paul King received the ball and let a rasping shot go from 25 yards – such was the power in the shot the Ardglass keeper was lucky to save but could not hold onto it and the lively Jack Patterson made no mistake from 10 yards when the ball broke loose.
That goal gave The Swifts more confidence and with Bonner, King, McMenamin and McNeill in commanding form, McGreevy in nets had little to do.
A quick corner from Massey near the break saw him play a one-two and chip a ball onto the far post. A couple of last ditch tackles kept the score at 1 nil. But The Swifts would not be denied. Matty Manley’s smart free kick from the edge of the box caused considerable confusion and again Jack Patterson was in tip top form to smash the ball in.
A mere lapse in consentration just before the halftime whistle saw Ardglass gain a goal direct from a corner when The Swifts ought to have done better.
The Swifts had a clear vision of what was needed in the 2nd half and carried it out well. Bingham never missed a thing all day long and with the impressive Jack Patterson and Manley on the wings The Swifts were a constant threat. Indeed it was Manley on 70 mins who took a short corner to Massey who played the ball back to him, with a neat cross-field pass it was met by McMenamin on the volley for the goal of the game.
This was a good strong team performance from The Swifts who remain unbeaten this season, but with stronger tests on the horizon it will be all hands to the pump especially at home to Annalong this saturday.
The Swifts continued their unbeaten run with a victory over a hard working Ardglass side that never gave up but that failed to seriously threaten the home defence.
Matthew Manly opened the scoring in the 11th minute when he curled a great shot into the top corner of the net. Ben Wilson who has been one of the team’s hard working midfielders this season scored the second after 18 minutes when he was set up by Graham McMullan. Wilson’s curling shot gave the Ardglass keeper no chance.
For the remainder of the half Ardglass curtailed the Swifts attacking threat and defensively Craig McMullan, Ross Hayes, John McMenamin and Shaun Bonner had to be at their best while Jamie McPhail in front of the back four covered every blade of grass. Goalkeeper Johnny McGreevy’s handling had to be at its best as he faced a barrage of crosses mainly from a series of corners.
In the second half Ardglass had a lot more possession but again they never really created a clear cut opening while the Swifts were limited to breakaways prompted by Alan Massey in central midfield and on occasions they created openings with Gareth Bingham having the best opportunity when he shot over the cross bar when put through by Craig McMullan. Replacements Scott McNeill and Ross Bingham made a major impact when they came on.
The Swifts put the game out of Ardglass’s reach when Matthew Manly’s shot after great work by the teenage winger resulted in a defender and the goalkeeper combining to allow the ball to cross the line.
This was a decent performance from the Swifts who remain unbeaten however they will need to be more commanding next week when they travel to Ballykinlar.