Saintfield Utd fall short of the mark

Saintfield Utd fall short of the mark

8 September 2021

SAINTFIELD United were comprehensively beaten at home by Shorts on Saturday. After an even opening 30 minutes, Shorts capitalised on errors to score two quick fire goals and thereafter controlled the game. 

The away side added a third goal in the second half to seal the victory, as Saintfield struggled to match their physicality and speed of play.

Meanwhile, Saintfield United seconds returned to competitive action on Saturday with a trip to local rivals Killyleagh seconds, but whilst it was great to have football back the end result wasn’t what the Saints had hoped for.

The day started with fresh hope and enthusiasm for the start of the season, but that was fading by the hour as a mid morning call seen a player out due to a work emergency.

The Saints seconds management team regrouped and moved onto the match, but as news of a missing babysitter and a broken down car filter through to the manager the enthusiasm was very much disappearing.

However, 2pm was rolling around and with Comet updated, again, the Saints were as ready as they could be.

The match started poorly for the visitors as Killyleagh took control and went ahead after four minutes. The next 10 minutes the Saints were up against it and some great saves by Matthew Small kept them in the game.

The Saints did get back into the match and created a few chances of their own, with Chris Orr and Tony Liken both going close.

Killyleagh had most of the possession, but despite that the teams went in with the score 1-0 at half time. The only other real point of interest being Tony having to come off with an injury five minutes before the end of the half.

The second half started with the Saints having another change required as Thomas Compton came off with an injured ankle.

Two changes and a change of shape and the Saints started to get into the match and generate more chances. 

Chris Orr went close again and then with 55 minutes gone a square ball across the Killyleagh box found Ben Stoneman eight yards out with just the ‘keeper to beat, but Ben just got under the ball and it went sailing over the bar.

In the 60th minute the Saints made their final change as Mark Gregg entered the fray and this was one positive in an otherwise negative day.

With three substitutes made the Saints luck was summed up for the day as Chris Orr pulled his hamstring and had to come off, leaving the Saints with 10 men for the last 25 minutes.

The man less eventually took its toll as Killyleagh added three more goals in the next 15 minutes.

The Saints didn’t completely roll over and play dead as they kept trying and pulled a late consolation goal back, a long corner from Daniel Hewitt converted at the back post by Peter Boylan. Full time: Killyleagh 4 Saintfield United 1.

All in all it wasn’t the best return to competitive football for Saintfield seconds, but a return nonetheless and an early lesson for the rest of the season.

Saintfield United Swifts returned to action this weekend with an away trip to Newcastle to face Tollymore Forest as they looked to grow on an impressive debut performance the week before. 

The Swifts started at a ferocious pace, much like the week before and although Tollymore saw very little of the ball in the opening stages, they did well to defend against a lively Saintfield attack. 

Although the Saints controlled most of the first half it was Tollymore who struck just before halftime with their first real opportunity of the game. 

A long ball from the back which bypassed the Saintfield midfield landed at the feet of Tollymore attacker Aaron McNerlin who expertly slotted the ball past the Swifts keeper. 

The second half saw the Swifts coming out with one thing in mind – three points. 

Playing against the wind in the second half saw some more action for the Saints defenders and goalkeeper as Tollymore used it to their advantage in going more direct. 

However, the Swifts defended valiantly with their young defence playing beyond their years. This gave the Saints a solid base to go play from and go play they did. 

A ball in behind from Lorcán Speier was met by Saints winger Josh McMullan who was brought down in the box by the Tollymore keeper in the 50th minute to win the Saints a penalty. 

The penalty was calmly slotted in the bottom corner by Peter Duff, one of the Swift’s more senior members at 22. 

The Swifts didn’t stop there and were rewarded with a second goal 12 minutes later as the Swifts number nine Cal Rowland latched on to a stray back pass from a Tollymore defender which he expertly slotted past the ‘keeper. 

A fantastic defensive display from the Saints and an injection of energy from the substitutes ensured a comfortable finish to the game.

Another fantastic performance for a very young Swifts side whose most senior player was 23 years-old was rewarded with the first three points of the season. 

One performance of note was by the Saints man of the match, Drew Irwin who didn’t put a foot wrong in the defence at both left back and in the second half when injuries saw him moved to centre back. 

Tollymore Forest 1

Saintfield United Swifts 2