Match Report: Ballynahinch United 4 v 0 Hollywood F.C.

United entertained the relegation threatened Hollywood F.C. in this league encounter and they secured all three points with a battling performance.

The first half was generally poor with United having the lion share of the play however they could not find the elusive first goal despite laying siege to the Hollywood goal mouth. United midfield of Carlisle, Brashaw, Ian Boal, Cheevers and Herron worked tirelessly reducing the visitors to occasional breakaways but despite a number of surges forward they never really troubled Brian McMullan in the home goal.

Despite what was a frustrating first half it was United who went ahead on the stroke of half time thanks to the persistence of Ian McMullan who chased a back pass charging down the keeper’s clearance which cannoned off his body into the net.

In the early stages of the second half the visitors pegged United back with Hayes, Davy Boal and Herron, who dropped back into defence for Stuart McMullan who took a knock late in the first half and was replaced at half time by Lee Maxwell.

Having repelled Hollywood’s early dominance United started to get back into the game and they increased their lead on the hour mark when a shot from Ian Boal was parried by the visiting keeper and as the alert Maxwell pounced on the loose ball he was brought down and referee Hazzard gave a penalty. Up stepped Aaron Cheevers to fire the ball into the net. Ten minutes later United had the game wrapped up when Lee Maxwell ran in on goal and passed the ball under the advancing keeper and into the net.

United penned Hollywood into their own half and following some excellent passing exchanges on the right wing Cheevers chipped the ball into the penalty area and Ian McMullan rose high to glance the ball into the net to make the score 4-0.

Next week United travel to Newtownards to take on 1st Bangor Old Boys.

Ballynahinch United 1 v 3 Dunmurry YM

United entertained the Division 1B league leaders Dunmurry YM at Millbridge in this league encounter. The visitors entered the game having won eleven straight league matches and throughout the first half they performed very well stretching the United defence of JJ Carlisle, Davy Boal, Ross Hayes and Stuart McMullan at every opportunity. Brian McMullan in United’s goal seen lots of action and had to be alert on a number of occasions with some excellent saves and catches. United had a few decent attacks on the Dunmurry goal with Johnny Gibson having a couple of half chances. Half time was reached with honours even and generally very little for the respective spectators to shout about.

It was United who came out of the blocks the quickest in the second half and what an impact they made with Aaron Cheevers scoring in the 46th minute when he pounced on a mistake to score with a well struck shot. United continued this ascendency with wave after wave of attacks with Greg Allison and Aaron Cheevers prominent on both wings. United were very unlucky not to go two ahead when a Cheevers cross was deflected by a Dunmurry defender onto his keeper’s chest and then onto the cross bar before being cleared. Moments later Greg Allison beat the keeper to a cross only to see his header bounce agonisingly wide of the post. Gavin Crawford almost made it two when he fired a long range shot goal ward when the Dunmurry keeper mistimes a clearance.

The home teams midfield of Ian Boal, Scott Brashaw, Crawford and Cheevers were working very hard and proving effective however United’s failure to  capitalise on their opportunities always had the potential to be their downfall however it would actually be a series of unfortunate circumstances that would contribute.

In the 75th minute Dunmurry were awarded a penalty following what looked like a decent last gasp challenge by Davy Boal. He appeared to have got the ball but the referee didn’t see it that way and having already been booked he received a second yellow card and was dismissed. Dunmurry duly took their opportunity and their penalty taker made no mistake.

Even though they were reduced to ten players the introduction into central defence of Owen Bassett gave United a solid look and indeed United had a number of opportunities.

United also had fresh legs with the introduction of Ian McMullan who proved to be a handful for the Dunmurry defenders and Lee Maxwell. Unfortunately for United an accidental collision between goal keeper Brian McMullan and Owen Bassett led to United losing their keeper with Lee Maxwell volunteering to stand in. The nine men United team fought on gamely as Dunmurry launched attack after attacked and in the dying minutes of the second half they conceded a second goal from a header. Despite a decent period of additional time they could not breach the Dunmurry defence and the unfortunate JJ Carlisle deflected the ball into his own net deep into injury time to end any chance United had.

Despite this defeat United can be well pleased with their effort because on another day they might well have had at least a draw. This week United travel to the Shore Road, Belfast for a league game against Grove United.

Ballynahinch United 2 v 1 Drumaness Mills

United entertained their near neighbours Drumaness Mills in this 1st Round Coca Cola Intermediate Cup tie at the Millbridge last Saturday. The weather twenty four hours before had been horrendous and when the pitch was inspected on Friday evening those who did considered it unplayable however by Saturday morning the good work that grounds man Jimmy Brown and his helpers had done during the summer bore fruit and it was game on. Unfortunately for the large number of supporters who turned up to encourage both teams on the rain started just before kick-off however to a man, women and child they stayed with it.

Drumaness Mills started the game with a strong wind in their backs and they dominated the early play winning a succession of corners however they failed to trouble a resolute United defence in which Davy Boal, Scott Brashaw, Ross Hayes and JJ Carlisle were in excellent form. United on the other hand had their attacking options restricted to breakaways and on several occasions the strong running of Simon Jackson and Johnny Gibson caused the Mills defence quite a few problems.

The Mills took the lead on the half hour mark when Davy Boal mistimed a challenge inside the penalty area and from the spot ace marksman Nathan Jones beat goal keeper Brian McMullan but only just.

The weather was deteriorating as the game went into the final fifteen minutes of the half however United seemed to increase in tempo and Jackson brought an outstanding save from the Mills keeper who seemed to injury himself in doing so. Minutes later and United were level when the Mills keeper flapped at a cross and when the ball broke free Ian Boal smashed the ball goal ward and it went in off a defender.

In the second half Drumaness Mills despite a stiff breeze in their faces played some neat football and United’s midfield of Aaron Cheevers, Ian Boal, Gavin Crawford and Ian McMullan had a lot of work to do to keep them at bay.

United were always a danger on the break and Lee Maxwell who had not been scoring with the same regularity of late arrived on the scene at the right time to rifle home the winner.

In the closing moments of the game United had two players dismissed by the referee with one the victim of a blatant head butt which everyone but the referee witnessed.  He did however see the victim try to protect himself from any further assault which was sufficient to warrant him receiving a red card.

A very disappointing end to a game that was generally played in a sporting manner and particularly so for the home team who prevailed against a strong and experienced Drumaness Mills team who are riding high in the NAFL Premier League.

Congratulations to the supporters from both teams who turned out in atrocious conditions and gave their team’s tremendous support.

This week United travel to Hollywood F.C in the league.

Sirocco Works 1 v 1 Ballynahinch United

United travelled to New Grosvenor last Saturday for this league encounter with Sirocco Works. It was the visitors who were out of the traps first and very quickly took command of the game and probably should have been two or three up by half time.

United’s early forays into the Sirocco penalty area were generally through the efforts of Johnny Gibson on the left wing and it was Gibson in the 10th minute who gave them the lead when he latched onto a through ball from Scott Brashaw to lift the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net.

Sirocco were having difficulty keeping pace with United’s excellent first time passing and after 20 minutes Aaron Cheevers should have doubled their lead when he ran through but he hit his shot over the cross bar.

As the first half went into its closing quarter the home side created a few scoring chances requiring goalkeeper Brian McMullan to make several fingertip saves.

In the second half there was a transformation in the Sirocco line up and they forced United onto the defensive. The defence of Hayes, Brashaw and Davy Boal required support from Stuart McMullan and JJ Carlisle and generally they were able to cope with what was thrown at them. Sirocco did have the ball in the net on 55 minutes but it was correctly ruled off side.

Ian Boal and Gavin Crawford in central midfield were unable to get the same control of the ball they had in the first half to give forwards Ian McMullan and Johnny Gibson any openings.

Lee Maxwell was introduced to the action on the hour mark and later David Kelly came into the fray and it looked as if United would hold on to their lead. Indeed they should have doubled the score after 75 minutes when quick thinking from Ian McMullan gave Ian Boal a chance but he skied his shot over the cross bar.

That missed opportunity proved very costly as things turned out because United conceded a penalty in the 80th minute when Hayes was very harshly adjudged to have pushed an attacker and Brian McMullan was unable to get near the resulting spot kick.

The closing ten minutes of the game were feisty to say the least and the referee failed to get a grip on some off the ball incidents which could and should have led to red cards. Indeed it appeared to be United players who found themselves in the referee’s notebook.

This week United entertain highflying neighbours Drumaness Mills in the first round of the Intermediate Cup at The Millbridge. The kick-off is at 1.30pm and a big attendance is anticipated. Due to a reduction in the available parking space at the Millbridge spectators are requested to get their early.

Ballynahinch United 6 v 2 St Patricks YM

United entertained St Patricks YM at the Millbridge in this league game on what was a beautiful autumn afternoon. The visitors who were the champions of Division 1C last season came to the Millbridge on the back of a 100% record so far this season. The home team started brightly and had a few early attacks however St Patricks YM were well organised in defence and as the game progressed they moved the ball about well restricting United’s openings.

The home team had centre forward Simon Jackson back as were Ross Hayes and Scott Brashaw however manager Keith Hamilton kept faith in Ethan Majury at left back after a good performance last week while Gavin Crawford was missing through injury.

The United defence of Davy Boal, JJ Carlisle, Ross Hayes and Ethan Majury worked tirelessly to give Brain McMullan a relatively quiet afternoon. In midfield Ian Boal, Scott Brashaw, Aaron Cheevers and Lee Maxwell proved good support while also creating openings for strikers Jackson and Ian McMullan.

United took the lead in the 40th minute when Jackson pounced on a loose ball and directed it into the path of Lee Maxwell who placed the ball into the corner of the net to round off what was a good all round first half performance.

The second half proved to one of the most eventual at the Millbridge for some considerable time and was not for any home supporter who was of a nervous disposition.

The discipline of the visitors was very poor to say the least and they had tried the referee’s patience on a number of occasions and when a player kicked out in the United penalty area while his team mates were preparing to take a corner the referee spotted it and produced the red card.

Shortly afterwards poor marking in the United defence allowed St Patricks in claim an equaliser. United pressed forward and after good work on the right wing by Aaron Cheever’s the ball was dispatched into the net by Ian McMullan.

Further indiscipline followed and another St Patricks player was sent off however this did not stop them from equalising midway through the half to make it 2-2.

United won a free kick on the right wing and Johnny Gibson fired it into the penalty area were the alert Lee Maxwell touched it into the net for a 3-2 lead.

A third St Patricks player got himself for a foul on Stuart McMullan but miraculously United conceded a penalty however it kicked over the cross bar.

Paul King almost made an instant impact when he came on for the injured Ian Boal by side footing a cross narrowly passed the post.

Still a resilient St Patricks chased the equaliser and from a corner a great clearance by Brian McMullan saw Scott Brashaw sprint through to score and made it 4-2.

Soon after Johnny Gibson was sent down the left wing and he slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to make it 5-2 and moments before the final whistle the same player ran through again but this time selfishly placed the ball into the path of Jackson to tap home.

Overall this was a great win and performance with United deserving all three points however conceding two sloppy goals was disappointing.