The Swifts entertained Tollymore 2nds at a damp and wet Millbridge on saturday and after an end to end game they secured all three points with a goal from Lee Price.
The youthful Tollymore team played really well and perhaps on reflection were somewhat unfortunate to lose but when United got their nose in front they fought hard to hold on, ably led by the experienced Ross Hayes who is making his comeback after injury.
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 teamâ€™s hard working midfielders this season scored the second after 18 minutes when he was set up by Graham McMullan. Wilsonâ€™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 McGreevyâ€™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 Ardglassâ€™s reach when Matthew Manlyâ€™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.
The committee, players and supporters of Ballynahinch United would offer their heartiest congratulations to Ross Hayes and Emma Louise Williamson who were married last Saturday.
The firsts were the only team to have a game on Saturday and with all of the clubâ€™s management team guests at the wedding it was left to Rab Carlisle to look after the team and a very good job he did too.
Saturday 3rd of May saw Ballynahinch United hold their annual dinner and presentation of awards in the Primrose Bar, Ballynahinch. As usual there were a large number of committee, players and supporters in attendance.
Following a very enjoyable meal which was to the usual high standards of the Primrose Bar the Club Chairman Gilbert Cromie officially welcomed everyone. Summarising the past year the Chairman expressed his sadness that the Clubâ€™s Third team â€˜Albionâ€™ had to withdraw from the league due to a shortage of players and it was his hope that it would be restored once again next season. He made particular mention of the outstanding work of the management teams of Keith Hamilton, Colin Murray, Davy Teggarty, Johnny McGreevy and Paul Allison and he paid tribute to the commitment of the players both at training and on the field of play.
He highlighted the vital work of the club officers and committee and very importantly the faithful supporters and sponsors who make such an important contribution. Special mention was made of the long-time contributions of senior club members Jimmy Brown and Winston Brown for all the hours they put in maintaining the facilities and faithful supporters Billy Hamilton and his wife Sally who never miss a home or most away matches with Sally providing sandwiches for all home fixtures which is much appreciated.
Turning to the club awards the Chairman congratulated and made a presentation to first team goalkeeper Bryan McMullan who has been included in the Northern Amateur League squad for the amateur International against their Scottish counterparts which took place at Killyleagh on Saturday 10th May.
The Chairman then invited the management teams to come forward and present the awards for the 2013/14 season which were as follows:
Playerâ€™s Player â€“ Aaron McCaffrey and Alan Massey [shared]
Managers Player â€“ Shaun Bonner
Leading Scorer â€“ Aaron McCaffrey
Playerâ€™s Player â€“ Scott Brashaw
Managers Player â€“ Scott Brashaw
Leading Scorer â€“ Ian McMullan
Club Young Player of the Year â€“ JJ Carlisle
A signed shirt was presented to the first team attendant Steven Jess who is standing down from the role due to family commitments although he will remain on the committee.
The very popular and much sought after Golden Boot award was introduced by club stalwart Wilson Hamilton and through numerous comic moments and false trails to both hint but keep the audience and recipient guessing to the last possible moment the winner was announced as Ross Hayes to rapturous applause.
United entertained Grove United in this league fixture at Millbridge last Saturday and having defeated the Belfast Shore Road side the previous week in a close encounter the same difficult game was expected.
It was the home team who were on the attack from kick off with JJ Carlisle and Lee Maxwell combining well on the right wing with Stuart McMullan and Johnny Gibson providing a similar threat on the left flank.
After forcing a series of corners it was United who would score what turned out to be the only goal of the game in the 15th minute. Johnny Gibson did extremely well to keep an over hit cross from going out of play which deceived the Grove defence and when he managed to cross the ball onto the edge of the six yard area Gavin Crawford was standing unmarked to head home off the inside of the post.
Throughout the game Unitedâ€™s defence of JJ Carlisle, Scott Brashaw, Ross Hayes and Stuart McMullan were resolute and with Brian McMullan in commanding form, Grove never really created any serious goal threat despite having some good possession.
In midfield Aaron Cheevers worked tirelessly alongside Ian Boal and Gavin Crawford while Ian McMullan was always an attacking threat but little fell his way. Gregg Alison and Davy Boal provided extra support when they came on and even though it wasnâ€™t a convincing display it was nevertheless a deserved victory with another clean sheet being a bonus.
This week United travel to Ballywalter Rec. for a league fixture.