NAFL Division 1
Ballynahinch United 1 1st Bangor OB 1
United entertained newly promoted 1st Bangor OB at the Millbridge on Tuesday week past in their final mid-week fixture. A poor showing the weekend before, coupled with the unexpected resignation of first team manager Colin Murray, was expected to unsettle the team. However, this was not to be the case writes Gilbert Cromie.
Right from the kick off they were on the attack with Johnny Gibson and Ian McMullan attacking down both flanks with Simon Jackson proving to be a real handful with his physicality and speed through the middle.
United took the lead after twenty five minutes when they were awarded a penalty which was converted by Ian Boal. There followed wave after wave of attack with Ian McMullan going close with an effort and Jackson shooting over the bar.
In the 40th minute, a defensive error allowed 1st Bangor to equalise against the run of play.
In the second half United pressed hard for a winner with Cheevers a constant menace to the 1st Bangor defence.
Midfielders Gavin Crawford, Ian Boal, Stuart McMullan worked tirelessly to create opening but they and the forward line could not find a way through a stubborn defence.
Defensively United were strong with JJ Carlisle, Davy Boal and Scott Brashaw providing excellent cover for goal keeper Brian McMullan who dealt with everything that came his way.
Border Cup 1st Round
Malachians 1 Ballynahinch United 1
(United won 4 – 3 on penalties)
United travelled to NAFL Premier League side Malachians with a slighty weakened side due to holidays and injury. Into the line-up came Gareth Bingham and David Kelly.
The home side got off to a great start when they scored in the first few minutes, but United played their way into the game and a brilliant strike by Johnny Gibson levelled the game just before half time.
The home team were a constant threat and Brian McMullan pulled off a number of excellent saves while in attack David Kelly went close with a header. In defence JJ Carlisle, Davy Boal and Scott Brashaw played out of their skins while midfielders Gavin Crawford, David Kelly, Ian Boal, Aaron Cheevers and Stuart McMullan covered every blade of grass.
Forwards Gareth Bingham, Johnny Gibson and Ian McMullan played their part throughout the match.
The two periods of extra time proved to be a bit of a non-event as each team became ever more cautious about making a mistake and soon it was time for the dreaded penalties.
After the first five had been taken by each team it was 3 each with Brian McMullan proving to be a major stumbling block. When a Malachians player missed their first kick in sudden death up stepped Scott Brashaw to cap a great personal performance and score the winner.
This was a spirited performance which will have given caretaker bosses Keith Hamilton and Davy Teggarty great encouragement as they go into two further cup ties next week and week after.
Preparations continue for the Seconds and Thirds 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 Seconds side while on Saturday Castleabbey Seconds were the visitors in an entertaining game which the home side won by 4-2 with Jordan Hayes, Ross Bingham and Aaron McCaffrey (2) on the score sheet.
The unexpected resignation of United manager Colin Murray came as a great shock to players, supporters and committee alike. Everyone at the club would like to express their sincere thanks to Colin for all the hard work and enthusiasm he gave to the role over his years at the helm. There were many highlights along the way but undoubtedly steering the team to the fifth Round of the Irish Cup and an unforgettable day out at Coleraine last year was one of the most memorable.
Colin however, and much to the delight of everyone, will remain at the club and will join the committee and work behind the scenes to take the club forward.
The club Committee are currently considering its options in respect of the appointment of a new manager and it hopes to have the matter resolved soon. It is very grateful to Keith Hamilton, Davy Teggarty and a number of the senior players for stepping into the breach and doing an excellent job .
Club memberships are now due and should be paid to the Club Treasurer as soon as possible.