Club: Newbuildings United Football Club
League: Northern Ireland Intermediate League.
Home: Newbuildings Community Centre.
Colours: Home; Maroon/Sky Blue. Away; Navy/Sky Blue.
Manager: Christopher Wallace.
Captain: Grant Buchanan.
This week’s Intermediate Profile sees us move to the North West and the NI Intermediate League, and to Newbuildings United.
Christopher Wallace’s side have begun the season in good form. On Saturday they made the short journey to take on divisional rivals Maiden City, coming away with a fine 4-2 win in the North West Senior Cup. This came a week after a fine 4-1 away victory in the Irish Cup, taking on a side who have been a familiar foe in recent years, Holywood FC from Amateur League 1C.
The gaffer has been impressed with the levels being shown by his charges in the two competitive matches to date, with the league season looming ever closer.
“Saturday was good to get back at the real thing”, Wallace commented, “ It has been a good seven weeks of pre-season but to get back at the competitive side of things was good. We knew what to expect before going up to Holywood as we played them away last year in the same round of the Irish Cup. We won 2-1 on that occasion, and this time around they didn’t make it easy in the first half an hour. But when we settled down and the game opened up it was good, we controlled the game after that. We weren’t at our best but the main thing is we are in the hat for the next round.”
In that next round Newbuildings have been drawn away to another Amateur League side, this time Dunmurry Rec from 1A. While an even tougher task awaits in the next round of the North West Senior Cup as they travel to NIFL Championship side Ballinamallard United.
Wallace, however, has a lot of faith in his side as he looks to continue the progress made by the club over the past few years. The club were NI Intermediate League champions for three seasons running (2011-2013) before winning the club’s first ever North West Senior Cup the following season.
That came following a dramatic 2-2 draw at the home of their final opponents, Institute. Stute had led 2-0 but two goals in five minutes saw the sides level at the break. They couldn’t be separated after that, and United triumphed on penalties. One of the goalscorers from that night, Ricky-Lee Dougherty, is still hitting the back of the net for the club, having netted in that win over Maiden City last weekend.
With a recent league sequence of second bottom, fifth and, last season, third-placed finishes, manager Wallace knows his men will have to be at their best if they want to go one, or perhaps two better this season.
“As it is every year, our league is very competitive. With every team strengthening it’s going to make it even better. Our aim, however, is to go and win the league this year that is our number one priority, everything else after that would be a bonus. We believe and the players believe that we are more than capable of doing so. But it’s not going to be easy, nothing ever is but we look forward to the challenge ahead and we are ready for it.”