Ballynahinch United Enjoy Away Win In East Belfast

IRISH INTERMEDIATE CUP – ROUND 1 EAST BELFAST   1  BALLYNAHINCH UNITED   2 UNITED travelled to Inverary Avenue, Belfast, for this encounter against Division 1A team East Belfast. In any other circumstances United would not have feared this trip having defeated a tram from a higher position within that Division the previous week.  However, on this occasion the team fielded minus six regulars (Ross Hayes, Scott Brashaw, Adam Herron, Gareth Bingham, Roman Gugulev and James Kingscott) who were unavailable for a variety of reasons. The home team started strongly moving the ball about in midfield with ease but the backline of Gary Walsh, Keith Hamilton, Alan Patterson and Alan Dickson put up a marker with their resolute defending that they would not be easy breached.  Meanwhile in midfield Johnny Hunter who was returning from illness and Ian Boal worked their cotton socks off both defensively and offensively. On the flanks youngsters JJ Carlisle and Scott McKibbin put on performances that belied their tender years supporting the tireless running of Ian McMullan and Richard Spratt. United created a number of scoring opportunities in the first half hour with Ian McMullan shooting over from close range, Richard Spratt firing a free kick narrowly wide with the keeper well beaten and Johnny Hunter’s 25 yard kick being spilled by the keeper and appearing to cross the line.  However, he gathered quickly before the referee could get a clear view. East Belfast were always an attacking threat but they never had any clear cut opportunities leaving keeper  Brian McMullan to lift a number of crosses without any great deal of pressure. They did open the scoring however in the 44th minute when, following a very heavy shower of rain, a centre from the left wing swerved at the last minute into the United net. Brian McMullan sensing the danger began back pedalling, but he slipped in the wet ground. Right from the centre United were back in the game when Ian McMullan nutmegged the center half and fired a shot into the top right hand corner past a helpless keeper. In the second half the home side came out determined to take the game to United and it was a case of all hands on deck. United’s cause was assisted in no small measure in the 50th minute when Johnny Hunter collected a loose ball in the centre of midfield and he ran toward the East Belfast goal before unleashing a shot into the net to make the score 2 –1. The United squad worked tirelessly to the end augmented by first team debutant Aaron Cheevers who replaced the tiring Richard Spratt. Each and every player contributed to what was an outstanding victory which was witnessed by a truly proud group of supporters. This week United entertain Downshire Y.M in a league fixture at Millbridge with a 2pm kick off. (All players and club members are reminded that the 2nd instalment of the Membership fees is now overdue and should be paid to the Treasurer by this weekend. Full memberships have to be paid by 30th November 2011.)]]>