The Swifts had Ardglass Colts as the visitors at Millbridge on Saturday and in an entertaining game they secured all three points with three excellent second half goals.
The first half was relatively even with Ardglass going close on several occasions necessitating a lot of hard work defensively from King, McNeill, McMenamin and Bonner in support of keeper Johnny McGreevy. Paul King had United’s best opportunity when his 25 yard free kick hit the inside of the post and rebounded to safety.
After a scoreless first half things burst into action when the always lively Jack Patterson dashed down the wing and crossed to Aaron McCaffrey who volleyed an unstoppable shot into the net. Patterson led the way again when another left wing cross was met by the hard working Stuart Wilcox who headed his team into a 2 – 0 lead.
Patterson and his midfield colleagues Massey, Wilcox and Gareth Bingham were in total command at this stage but they were unable to increase their lead thanks to some excellent defending by the Ardglass team. Swifts manager Davy Taggerty introduced a trio of replacements in Nathan Farquhar, Matthew Manley and Ross Bingham and with Farquhar playing some neat football spreading the ball to all parts of the field it looked almost certain that they would score again.
The final goal came following a run down the right wing by Ross ‘Chris’ Bingham who unleashed a shot that looked as if it would land on the Downpatrick Road. In fact it dipped viciously under the cross bar and the Ardglass keeper at full stretch, managed to claw it out but the ever alert Matthew Manley ran in to fire the ball into the net before the keeper could recover.
This week the Swifts are away to Dromore Leisure Centre to play Banbridge Boys Club.
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.
Two goals from Gary McCracken and one from Stuart Wilcox were not enough to get a result against Maghera 2nds on Saturday past.
The youthful Albion side worked hard throughout and could not be faulted for their application and effort.
The Albion travelled to Church Hill Park, Maghera for this league game against Maghera 2nds.
Maghera took the lead early on from what the Albion players thought was an offside position and not long afterwards found themselves 2-0 down from a brilliant shot that gave keeper John McMenamin no chance.
Just before half time Albion got back into the game when following good work on the right wing by Ross Bingham who crossed to Graham McMullan who shot toward goal past the keeper and Stuart Wilcox made sure that it was going over the line.
In the second half Albion got back on level terms when a long throw from Paul King was scrambled into the net by Steven Bridges.
The Albion pressed forward for the winner but they were caught out by two breakaway goals to fall behind by 4-2. They never gave up and when Dean Blackwood was fouled in the penalty Alan Massey stepped up to score but it was too little too late.
This week the Albion entertain Carryduff Colts 2nds at the Council Pitch in Drumaness.
NEWCASTLE & DISTRICT AMATEUR FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Davy Teggarty’s young Albion side have been on a good run of form in recent weeks and so it continued this week with a fine performance against a strong Strangford reserve side.
The afternoon didn’t start too well when experienced keeper Johnny McGreevy dislocated a finger in the warm up and had to go to hospital. Luckily teenage central defender John McMenamin is a handy goalkeeper and he deputised.
The Albion started brightly and with five minutes gone, Graeme McMullan had the ball in the Strangford net only for it to be disallowed for what was apparently offside.
The first goal came after 35 minutes and at that point slightly against the run of play because the visitors had got back into the game. Live-wire Stuart Wilcox took a pass from Ross Bingham in the centre of the park and he unleashed a long range shot which deceived the Strangford keeper in the strong sunshine to go into the net.
Wilcox who was causing all sorts of problems with his strong running made it 2-0 on 55 minutes when he latched onto a loose ball in the six yard box to score. Moments after the restart Alan Massey intercepted the ball in centre midfield after a good tackle from Ciaran Bonner and he fired a twenty yard shot into the net which went in off a post.
With The Albion firmly in the driving seat, Steven Bridges spurned a number of chances – indeed he could and should have had a hat trick.
On 70 minutes a mix up between Bingham and Massey let Strangford in to make it 3-1 and moments later more poor defending saw the deficit reduced to one with the score at 3-2. Some last ditch defending from King and Shaun Bonner saved the day as the Albion struggled. However a long clearance was picked up by Gareth Scott who passed to Wilcox and the midfielder stormed into the penalty area to score an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
This was another excellent display from this young team who are working very hard for their manager and each other.