Everyone at the club would like to wish a speedy recovery to Robert Creighton who was recently hospitalised. Robert has been an outstanding supporter of the club over a considerable number of years missing only the odd match both home and away and we hope that he is able to be back at the Millbridge very soon. Club captain Scott Brashaw is pictured visiting Robert in hospital when he presented him with a Ballynahinch United Golf Society top.
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 Club’s Third team ‘Albion’ 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:
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 United’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 wasn’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.
United travelled to Napier Park, Dunmurry last Saturday for this league encounter with the local Dunmurry Young Men side who are currently sitting top of the league.
It was Ballynahinch United who started brightly with teenager Greg Allison providing a serious threat on the right wing however it was the home side who took the lead after fifteen minutes when their speedy left winger got one on one with Brian McMullan and lobbed the ball over the onrushing keeper.
United had the chance to equalise soon after when a Dunmurry defender was penalised for pulling Ian McMullan back at a corner however the usually reliable Gareth McMullan whilst placing his kick well did not give it enough power and the home goalkeeper was able to claw it away for a corner.
Dunmurry were a fairly combative and direct side relying primarily on their left winger and it was this player that was the undoing of United for the second goal. On the half hour mark he ran onto a long ball and seeing that Scotty Brashaw was going to catch him outside the penalty area he cut across the defenders path and in the resulting unavoidable tangle of legs he won a foul and a red card for the unlucky Brashaw.
Dunmurry scored their second when Brian McMullan was unable to hold a low ground shot from a free kick on what was a very wet and greasy surface that came through a crowded penalty area.
In the second half United faced what appeared an impossible task however a number of substitutions saw the introduction of David Kelly and new signing Simon McKenna saw a more attacking line up and within five minutes they pulled a goal back when Allison outpaced the Dunmurry keeper and rounded the keeper to shoot home.
United pressed for an equaliser and were always vulnerable to the counter attack and on the hour mark they found themselves 3-1 down when despite a great save from Brian McMullan the ball fell to a midfielder to slot home.
United soldiered on but in the last ten minutes they were reduced to nine men when Stuarty McMullan was sent off for another last man tackle which was extremely unlucky particularly as the referee indicated after the game that the forward was already on his way down before the tackle was made.
Despite what was a decent performance in difficult circumstances United are going to have to address the disciplinary issues that are ruining their season and which cannot all be explained away by poor refereeing.
United have no game this weekend and will not know their next fixture until the beginning of next week.
United returned to league action at the Millbridge for the first time in 2014 against their near neighbours the Hillsborough based Downshire YM who until recently have not been having the greatest of seasons. United entered the game with a plethora of changes due to the absence for a variety of reasons of experienced campaigners Davy Boal, Aaron Cheevers, Gavin Crawford, Ross Hayes and Simon Jackson from the previous week’s team.
The opening exchanges were even, however by the time United took the lead in the fifteenth minute they were dominating proceedings. A surge from defence by Scott Brashaw was not halted and as the defender took the ball to the edge of the six yard area he cut it back for Johnny Gibson to shoot home. The same player had almost scored minutes earlier when his long range shot cannoned off the crossbar with experienced Downshire YM keeper Brian Burgess well beaten.
United’s defence of Ethan Majury, JJ Carlisle and Scott Brashaw had their work cut out over the next fifteen minute period as Downshire prompted in midfield by former United player Matty Shaw laid siege to the home goal in which Brian McMullan’s handling was outstanding. The big keeper however was unable to stop the equaliser from the penalty spot on twenty five minutes after JJ Carlisle had been penalised.
After this flurry of goal scoring, clear cut openings were limited for the reminder of the game especially as the second half progressed with perhaps both teams afraid of losing. United’s midfield of Ian Boal, Lee Maxwell, Stuart McMullan and Johnny Gibson worked tirelessly to create openings while Ian and Gareth McMullan combined very well up front.
While the result may not have been to the pleasing of a good local support the introduction of teenagers Greg Allison and on his debut Jack Patterson gave them a glimpse of the future stars with neither in the slightest overawed.