NAFL Division 1B
Holywood 2 Ballynahinch United 0
United travelled to Seapark, Holywood last Saturday for this league encounter and they came away with nothing despite a spirited display and having the major share of the play writes Gilbert Cromie.
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 goal keeper had to 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 tackles in the early stages which effectively spoiled some of United’s attacking moves. Despite all their good build up play which centred on 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 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 face increased pressure from the home side 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 they 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 vital equaliser. The best chance came when Bowman brought 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 up 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.