The Swifts entertained table toppers Ballyvea 2nds in this league match at the Millbridge last Saturday.
Both teams appeared to be at full strength and they served up an exciting afternoon fair. The Swifts took the game to their more experienced opponents from the first whistle with Gareth Bingham and Graeme McMullan proving to be a constant threat to the Ballyvea defence which looked solid throughout.
McNeill, King, McMenamin and Bonner worked tirelessly in defence to keep the Ballyvea attack in check while in midfield McPhail, Massey, Manly and Wilson won a lot of possession with their quick closing down of the opposition.
A 0 – 0 score line at half time was not surprising as both teams generally cancelled each other out with neither goalkeeper having much to do.
In the second half the Swifts pushed on forcing a number of corners whilst Ballyvea were dangerous on the break with Swifts keeper Johnny McGreevy having to make a few timely saves.
The Swifts got the first break in the 70th minute when Graeme McMullan was upended in the penalty area however the usually reliable Alan Massey’s spot kick by was well saved by the Ballyvea keeper.
This seemed to spur the visitors on and in the next attack Ballyvea scored when a shot beat McGreevy and went in off the post.
Minutes later the Swifts were on the attack following the introduction of substitutes Ross Bingham and David Griffiths. They were awarded a corner and from the resultant kick Ross Bingham powered a header into the net off the underside of the crossbar for what was a deserved equaliser.
This was a competitive game played with spirit and sportsmanship throughout which was a credit to both teams.
The referee deserves considerable credit for his handling of the game and his consistent decision making.
This week the Swifts travel to Strangford for a cup game.
The Swifts entertained a strong Kirkistown side at Millbridge in their first home game of the season. Conditions were excellent for free flowing football on a well-manicured pitch and the small band of spectators was well entertained.
It was the visitors who scored the first goal when their centre forward shot home after some good work to get ahead of the Swifts central defenders leaving Johnny McGreevy with no chance of saving a well struck shot.
The home side soon got into their stride and having missed a good opportunity in the 15th minute teenager Graeme McMullan didn’t miss in the 20th when he stroked the ball home after good work by Ross Bingham.
In the 25th minute another teenager Matthew Manly gave the Swifts the lead when he picked up a loose ball in the penalty area and shot home.
The Swifts defence of McNeill, King, Bonner and McMenamin were constantly under pressure with midfielders Wilson, Massey, Manly and McPhail combining with them to keep the Kirkistown attack at bay.
In the second half Kirkistown started strongly and equalised after 55 minutes and then went 3 – 2 ahead in the 70th minute. The Swifts introduced David Griffiths and Alan McMullan into the fry and from the right wing Graeme McMullan crossed for Matthew Manly to head home the equaliser.
This was a hard fought game with both teams intent on attack and a draw on this occasion was the fairest result.
The Swifts got their league season started with an excellent away win to Killough Seconds. Last year the two sides met in a thrilling 5 – 5 encounter but this time the visitors edged the home side out with goals from Ross Bingham , Alan Massey, Paul King and David Griffiths.
The 2nds entertain Kirkistown 2nds at The Millbridge this Saturday 20th September in a league game.
The Swifts got back to league action with a home fixture at Drumaness Council Ground against league newcomers Banbridge YC. In a lively first half the Swifts took the lead from the penalty spot when Alan Massey converted after Aaron McCaffrey had been felled in the penalty area.
The visitors equalised with a shot from 25 yards and then took the lead when defender Ross Bingham was unlucky to head past keeper Johnny McGreevy. The Swifts got level when Graeme McMullan, on for the injured Johnny Stevenson, equalised.
David Kelly who was controlling midfield along with Gareth Bingham gave the home side the lead when he carried the ball half the length of the pitch before despatching a shot from twenty yards into the roof of the net.
In the second half the Swifts took control of the game with their defence of Ross Bingham, Glynn Robinson, Scott McNeill and John McMenamin performing in a more controlled manner while Greg Allison caused mayhem on the ring wing. Stuart Wilcox made the score 4-2 when he latched onto Alan Massey’s free kick and Graeme McMullan headed home a cross from Greg Allison to close the scoring at 5-2.
This was a good performance from an almost full strength side which saw the return from injury of Shaun Bonner when he made a second half appearance.
The Swifts play their first game of the season at Millbridge this week when they entertain Valley Rangers 3rds.
Preparations continue for the 2nds and 3rds with a series of games over recent weeks. A good performance last week saw them come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against a good Ballynagross 2nd side while on Saturday Castleabbey 2nds were the visitors in an entertaining game which the home side won by 4-2 with Jordan Hayes, Ross Bingham and Aaron McCaffrey  on the score sheet.
A further 2 friendly matches are to be played this week at The Millbridge on Tuesday 27th and Thursday 29th August. Kick off for both games will be 6.30pm so all players should meet at the club for 5.45pm.
Club memberships are now due and should be paid to the Club Treasurer as soon as possible.