NAFL Division 1B.
Ballynahinch United 2 Lisburn Rangers 1
United opened their Northern Amateur League Division 1B campaign with a win over a youthful Lisburn Rangers side at Milbridge last Saturday writes Gilbert Cromie.
United were in the ascendency from the start with Stuart McMullan and Craig Bowman surging down the wings prompted by the passes from midfield of the industrious trio of Scott Brashaw, Ian Boal and debutant Gavin Crawford. Things were really looking up for United in the twentieth minute when Craig Bowman popped up in the penalty area to take a layoff from another newcomer Simon Jackson to power an unstoppable shot into the net
Lisburn were very tidy at the back and through midfield but they were unable to breakdown the reliable home defence in which Ross Hayes was a colossus alongside the fast improving JJ Carlisle who was as steady as a rock in the sweeper position and the ever reliable Davy Boal.
L to r Colin Murray , Ross Hayes and Keith Hamilton
Jackson who had a solid debut should have scored on the half hour mark when he elected to pass to partner Aaron Cheevers rather than shoot.
In the second half experienced Lisburn Rangers manager Paul Kirk made a few changes and they came more into the game but United’s keeper Bryan McMullan was dealing competently with everything that came his way.
Jackson’s pace which was never fully utilised in the first half became more of a feature of United’s play and he was put through on the left wing several times. On the hour mark Jackson made it 2-0 when he surged into the penalty area and guided a shot into the net giving the Lisburn keeper no chance.
United continued to withstand Lisburn’s promptings. However, the withdrawal of Ross Hayes and then the unnecessary dismissal of Ian Boal upset the balance of the game. Jay Smyth was introduced into midfield and he worked tirelessly to stem the tide however a goal by Lisburn in the eigthieth minute created a panic amongst United’s supporters and it took a superb save from Bryan McMullan and clearance by his cousin Stuart in the dying seconds to earn all three points.
A good start to the league campaign for United who were missing several players for a variety of reasons. United’s old failing of not scoring enough goals is something that has been vexing the supporters for some time and in fairness to manager Colin Murray and his assistant Keith Hamilton they have worked hard to secure players with a proven track record in this department and time will tell if they can challenge for honours. This was an encouraging start and a fitting reward to the players who have worked very hard in pre-season.
United have moved to fill the vacancy of 2nd team manager with club stalwart Davy Teggarty moving up to take on the role. In addition the club has decided to move its second team from the NAFL to the Newcastle & District League Division 2. Ian Blackwood has also been appointed to take on the role of 3rd team manager. Neither of the 2nds or 3rds start their league campaigns until early September and the club is on the lookout for additional players. Anyone interested should come along to the club on either Tuesday or Thursday night training or make yourself known to either of the managers or any of the club officials.
The club would like to express its appreciation to BEC Electrical Ltd of Ballynahinch for their sponsorship of a new first team kit. Due to a clash of colours on Saturday United were unable to wear it however it is expected that it will have made its debut last night Tuesday 13th August for the home league fixture against Sirocco Works.
The costs of running any sporting club is becoming an increasing burden on its members and Ballynahinch United like many another is feeling the pinch. Despite the income from members, supporters and players it can be difficult to cover the outlay required for a typical home match which with referees fees and the costs associated with kit wash etc. can amount to £100.The club would welcome Match Sponsorship or sponsorship to assist with the defraying of costs. Anyone interested in providing assistant should contact any club member or telephone the Secretary 07436112954 for further information.