Holywood 2 v 0 Ballynahinch United

United travelled to Seapark, Holywood on Saturday past for this league encounter and they came away with nothing despite a spirited display and having the major share of the play.

The conditions were quite difficult as the game was played on a heavy pitch with strong winds and rain throughout.

In the first half United played with the wind in their backs and down the slope and they really should have done much more with the possession that they had.

The Holywood goalkeeper had to be at his very best during the first half as he kept out efforts from Ian Boal who was playing in an unaccustomed but effective attacking role and a deflected header from a defensive colleague.

The home team were defending in numbers and found the referee in a somewhat generous mood as he failed to punish a few fouls in the early stages which effectively spoiled some of United’s attacking moves. Despite all their good build up play which centered around Hunter, Smyth, Stuart McMullan, McKibbin and Cheevers they just did not get the ball into the penalty area quick enough or when the chance came to shoot often enough.

Defensively Bowman, Hayes, Brashaw and McCauley Foster were able to deal with Holywood’s speedy forwards giving keeper Brian McMullan a relatively quiet first half.

It was obvious that United were going to get things difficult in the second half, particularly as the conditions deteriorated but in the early minutes it was United who were on the front foot.

Holywood took the lead after 55 minutes when United failed to clear their lines giving the home side a series of corners. The sequence of three corners that followed involved several outstanding saves from Brian McMullan however he could not do anything when a defender side footed the ball into the net from an unmarked position.

Soon after David Kelly was introduced into central midfield which he and Johnny Hunter dominated and with the introduction of Adam Herron and Ian McMullan United were attacking from all positions but again they could not get the equaliser. The best chance came when Bowman forced a great save from the Holywood keeper however he may have been better squaring it to Kelly who might have been in a better position.

The game was over for United in the 80th minute when Holywood scored their second however it was bad luck on them because the forward was clearly offside when he received the through ball.

United threw everything at Holywood in the closing minutes but they just didn’t create the scoring opportunities that would have led to a grand stand finish.

This week United entertain Temple Rangers in the much awaited and three times postponed Clarence Cup tie. The kick-off is at 1.30pm.

Ballynahinch United 3 v 1 Bangor Rangers

United entertained Bangor Rangers in this league fixture at Millbridge on Saturday – a day that was somewhat over shadowed by the news that they had drawn Premier League side Coleraine in the 5th Round of the Irish Cup.

Right from the start United were on the front foot hemming Bangor Rangers back into their half as they probed down the right and left wings through the runs of Aaron Cheevers and Stuart McMullan. They took the lead just short of the half hour mark when Alan Patterson ran onto a Johnny Hunter through ball. The Bangor keeper raced off his line to challenge for the ball but it broke to Cheevers who calmly slotted it into the empty net from twenty yards.

United continued to probe but they conceded a goal against the run of play when a long right wing cross evaded everyone and fell to a Bangor forward who controlled the ball before slotting it into the net despite the efforts of Brian McMullan. Undeterred United pressed forward and following a goal mouth scramble Ian McMullan side footed the ball into the net.

In the second half United continued to control the game restricting Bangor Rangers to the odd excursion forward leaving Brian McMullan generally as a spectator.

The midfield of Bowman, Hunter, Patterson and Stuart McMullan were very strong moving the ball about with confidence while defensively Davy Boal, Ross Hayes, Adam Herron and Scott Brashaw all went about their tasks with efficiency.

Numerous openings were created to extend their lead but it was not until the 75th minute that they increased it when Patterson again surged forward and unleashed a shot which was brilliantly saved by the Bangor keeper however in doing so it cannoned off a defender and looped into the net.

The full substitute bench of Carlisle, McKibbin and Smyth had been introduced midway through the second half and they played their part with McKibbin out pacing the Bangor defence on a number of occasions and being very unlucky not to score.

An excellent result which keeps United in the top four of the Division 1B league table as they go into Christmas and this weekends big local derby with Temple Rangers in the Clarence Cup.