Northend United 3 Carnlough Swifts 1 Saturday 21st May 2022
In the Division 3 Play-off final, Northend United and Carnlough Swifts faced off on Saturday morning after semi-final wins over Antrim Eagles and Woodside respectively. The earlier stages of the game were a tough fought physical battle with neither team really getting into the ascendency and chances being limited to half chances and long range efforts.
Northendís early chance came as Conall Gordon broke down the right hand side and crossed to Patrick Ferris whose volley never really threatened the goal and flew over the bar. Carnlough Swifts similarly had a couple of half chances with some opportunities to shoot from range but again nothing that particularly troubled Jason Givens in nets.
The opening goal came around the 20th minute as from a wide Swifts free kick, the ball broke clear and Christy McKillop played a ball into Ferris, who brilliantly beat his man before driving into the box and crossing for Ben Dallas who did very well to keep his shot down and find the bottom corner to give United the lead. The half continued in attritional fashion, with Northend carving a chance from the right, again through Gordon, and his cross being headed just wide by Jonny McClelland.
Just before the half Carnlough struck back in the game, as a long ball from the goalkeeper deceived the Northend defence and the Carnlough striker managing to direct the ball into the net for the equaliser. Half time 1-1
The second half brought a change of shape for both teams as the management attempted to free up their attackers more, and it was Northend who made the most of the changes early in the half as Ben Dallas broke down the left and drilled a low cross towards Ferris, which as the Carnlough defender tried to intercept could only manage to direct it into his own net.
Again the game settled into an even contest with neither team creating too many chances, until around the 80th minute, when James Hunter worked a yard of space on the edge of the box and drilled the ball into the bottom corner to eruptions of celebrations on the pitch and on the sidelines.
Northend managed to hold on until the end of the game and confirm their place in Division 2 by lifting the Paddy Dunlop Memorial Cup, to go along with the Sammy Moore Memorial Cup won last month. Full time 3-1
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, L Rea, J Montgomery, J McClelland, C Gordon, P McClelland, C McKillop, B Dallas, J Spiers, P Ferris, M Armstrong, J Hunter, J Agnew, C Fullerton, C Metrustry
Northend United 4 Antrim Eagles 2 Saturday 14th May 2022
Getting the home draw in the Division 3 play off semi-final, Northend United hosted Antrim Eagles at the showgrounds in the last bid for promotion for the season.
The game started in electric fashion, with Eagles having some good early possession and pressure, but a quality counter attack from United culminated in Ben Dallas chipping the ball over the defence and Patrick Ferris timing his run well to then lob the keeper and bring an early lead to the Blues.
Soon after Northend struck again, as this time a free kick on the halfway line was headed on by James Hunter and Peter McClelland was there to again lob the onrushing keeper and extend the lead.
In what was a hectic first 10 minutes, Northend again found themselves in on goal and Hunter again provided an assist with a neat pass which Patrick Ferris poked past the goalkeeper. In truth, the scoreline was harsh on the Antrim side and flattered the Blues as it didnít really reflect the play of the early stages. Eagles got some encouragement as a few half chances came to nothing but they were getting some joy with some quick attacks.
Midway through the half a moment of really quality reduced the deficit as an Eagles winger struck a fantastic volley from the edge of the box which flew straight into the top corner in what would definitely be a contender for goal of the season.
Northend werenít to be pegged back however and as Jamie Spiers lofted a ball forward, again Ferris found himself past the keeper and able to finish into an open net to complete a great hattrick of finishes. Half time 4-1
The second half had a different look to it as the Northend team looked to protect their lead and Eagles tested keeper Jason Givens a number of times, forcing him into a great save from a free kick and also a brilliant low save from inside the box.
Northend definitely struggled for any fluency in the second half but always looked a threat on the break as Ferris raced behind the defence again but missed his shot just past the far post.
With 5 minutes remaining, Eagles did get a goal back as a cross from the right looped all the way into the far corner, but it was too little to late, and Northend were able to hold on for a place in the final. Full time 4-2
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, L Rea, J Montgomery, J McClelland, P McClelland, C McKillop, J Spiers, B Dallas, J Hunter, P Ferris, M Armstrong, J Agnew, C Fullerton, C Metrustry
Northend United 4 Steadfast 2 Saturday 30th April 2022
In their last league game of season Northend hosted Steadfast at the showgrounds on Saturday morning. The game started in the worst possible way as a deep Steadfast free kick was headed on and then volleyed home at the back post.
Northend did respond well, and Patrick Ferris and James Hunter caused a lot of problems in the attacking third. It was Hunter who got the breakthrough as some great work by Ben Dallas on the left flank led to him firing low across the box and Hunter getting the decisive touch to turn home.
Ferris then nicked the lead for the blues as Christy McKillop split open the defence with a great pass and Ferris tucked home first time. Half time 2-1
Northend would have hoped to push forward early in the second half but again a set piece was their downfall as a Steadfast corner was headed in for the equaliser. Soon after that, in a period of Steadfast pressure, the blues conceded a penalty. Thankfully, Jason Givens was the hero as he saved the penalty before reacting quickly to smother the rebound.
This boost gave Northend the impetus to move forward and after a series of substitutions and a change of shape, Ferris created a chance from nothing before chipping the keeper to restore the lead for the Northend side. The blues then missed a raft of great chances before late in the game Jamie Spiers fired in a low corner which Michael Armstrong met to head into the bottom corner. Full time 4-2
The Blues now await other results to see their final league position and if they get promoted or enter into a playoff for promotion.
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), J McClelland, P McClelland, J Speirs, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, P Ferris, J Hunter, C Metrustry, D Young, J Agnew, M Armstrong, C Black
Sixmile Athletic 0 Northend United 6 Wednesday 27th April 2022
On Wednesday night Northend Seniors travelled to Antrim Forum to take on Sixmile Athletic.
The game started with a flurry of early goals as the Blues took the lead after James Hunter played in Chris Fullerton who slotted past the Sixmile keeper. The lead was extended when Jonny McClelland sent a quick throw in behind the Sixmile defence and again Fullerton was on hand to finish in the bottom corner.
Hunter again became provider as a flick around the corner played Conall Gordon in and he fired into the net from a right angle.
2 more goals came before half time, with Hunter again providing the assists for both, first setting up Christy McKillop to drive home and then Peter McClelland making a mate run into the box rifled in to make it 5-0 at half time. Half time 0-5
The second half had much less entertainment but the Blues did a great job of controlling possession and creating chances. The only breakthrough of the half came as Hunter finally got his goal and slotted into the bottom corner. Full time 0-6
A professional performance from the young Blues and a routine victory.
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, M Armstrong, J Montgomery, J McClelland, C Gordon, P McClelland, C McKillop, J Agnew, J Hunter, C Fullerton, L Rea, C Black, D Young
Seven Towers 0 Northend United 2 Sammy Moore Memorial Cup Friday 22nd April 2022
On Friday night Northend United Youth and Seven Towers lined up in the Clough Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club sponsored Sammy Moore Memorial Cup final. Currently sitting 1st and 2nd in the BSML 3rd division it was anticipated to be a tight game between the two sides.
Northend probably started the game the brighter of the 2 sides and showed confidence on the ball to try and build attacks from defence. The first big chance of the game did fall to the young Northend side, as Patrick Ferris pressed high to win the ball on the edge of the box but could only blaze over the bar from close range. Minutes later Ferris again found himself behind the Towers defence only for Thomas Brady to make a last ditch tackle to prevent the chance from materialising. As the first half developed, Towers became much more prevalent in the game, and their best chance of the half came from a cross that was only half cleared, with the eventual shot being headed away from goal by Luke Rea with what looked like a goal saving intervention.
United keeper Jason Givens was tested by a Ryan Brady free kick but managed to safely turn the ball around the corner with few other chances being created in the first half. Half time 0-0
The second half proved to be a much better affair as the nerves looked like they began to settle for both teams. Brady again went close with a free kick for Towers which again Givens was equal to.
The deadlock was eventually broken as Ferris broke away down the left hand side and pulled the ball back to the edge of the box, where Christy McKillop struck the ball low and hard into the far bottom corner to spark jubilant scenes from the team in white.†
Seven Towers response was good and again another free kick chance for Brady saw Givens diving low to cling on to the ball. Again however, the Northend creativity showed, and McKillop returned the assist from earlier with a neat pass into Ferris who slotted in at the near post to give the Northend side a cushion to protect.†
Looking to build on their lead, northend twice went close, first with a low curling effort from Jamie Spiers which just about slid past the far post, and then minutes later Conal Gordon broke down the right hand side and struck a vicious shot which Jamie Stevenson did well to save and hold.
Towers obviously started to pile on some pressure to try and get back into the game, but the Northend back 4 and Peter McClelland sitting just in front of them were exemplary in dealing with the Seven Towers threats, and limited the men on sky blue to long range efforts and half chances which never really tested Givens majorly. The best chance of the lot was a loose ball in the box which awkwardly fell to Burgoyne but he could only manage to volley it wide.
Northend managed to hold onto the clean sheet and when the final whistle was blown, the players were ecstatic to see captain Luke Rea hold aloft the trophy in their first full season in the BSML. Full time 0-2
Panel: Jason Givens, Joseph Dallas, Jamie Montgomery, Luke Rea (c), Johnny McClelland, Pete McClelland, Christie McKillop, Conall Gordon, Ben Dallas, Jamie Speirs, Patrick Ferris, James Hunter, Jack Agnew, Mike Armstrong, Chrissy Fullerton, Dylan Young
Northend United 2 North Ballymena Rangers 1 Saturday 16th April 2022
With few games remaining in the 3rd division of the BSML, Northend hosted North Ballymena Rangers who are both hoping for a spot in the automatic promotion places.
The games early tempo was frantic and neither team really settled on the ball at all, with nerves evident in both teams. North Ballymena had the first big chance as a ball in behind the Blues defence forced Jason Givens into making a big save low up against the Rangers winger.
Northend managed to win a corner in the early minutes and Conal Gordon put in a great in-swinging cross, which was poked home by James Hunter to give Northend the lead.
A second followed soon after and this time Hunter turned creator, as he won the ball high up the pitch and his initial shot was saved, only for him to square to Patrick Ferris to tap in. In the rest of the first half Northend were close to extending their lead, with Ferris forcing a couple of good saves. Half time 2-0
A much better Rangers side came out in the second half and Northend were struggling to deal with the direct balls coming towards their box. The Blues did have chances at the other end with Ferris and Hunter again forcing important saves. One counter attack did free Chris Fullerton behind the North Ballymena defence but the goalkeeper timed his tackle perfectly to stop Fullerton getting a shot away.
Rangers did find a lifeline as a free kick from deep was headed on into the net to spur a late North Ballymena resurgence, but the young Blues managed to hold on until the end and win all 3 points. This does leave Northend in 2nd and they still need results to go their way to secure automatic promotion. Full time 2-1
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), J McClelland, P McClelland, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, P Ferris, J Hunter, M Armstrong, C Metrustry, C Fullerton, D Young, J Agnew
Cushendall 1 Northend United 4 Galgorm Trophies Cup Wednesday 13th April 2022
In their final group game of the Galgorm Trophy, northend seniors were hosted by 2nd division Cushendall in Cargan. With neither team being able to progress, Northend rolled the rotations in the starting line-up to give gametime to a lot of players who have recently been less involved.
The game was restricted on a small and bobbly pitch and even though Northend had most of the early possession, they did struggle to gain any real fluency in the game. A new centre mid pairing of Patrick Ferris and Jack Agnew did look the brightest players in the early stages, and it was Agnew who opened the scoring after a short corner was played to Conal Gordon, and his pinpoint cross was headed in by Agnew from point blank range.
A second goal followed soon after as Northend finally strung some good passes together and the ball was laid off to James Hunter who passed the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Northend managed to get to halftime without any real scares in the defence, and created a few half chances at the other end without really troubling the goalkeeper. Half time 0-2
In the second half, Northend again pushed to build on their lead, and Hunter again scored after some good footwork brought him into the box and he squeezed the ball home from a very tight angle. Agnew wasnít to be left behind in the goal scoring and produced the best moment of quality in the game, rouletting away from one Cushendall player before curling the ball into the net from 25 yards. He was also so close to a hat-trick again unleashing a long curler only to be denied by the crossbar.
Cushendall did strike back late in the game with a good finish at the back post but Northend had the quality to hold on for the 4-1 victory.
It was a good statement of intent from the young Blues beating higher league opposition in a competitive fixture for the first time, and also the management were happy to see the return of Michael Armstrong after months out with a bad injury, as well as welcoming Sam Millar and Joel Telford from the under 19s for their first appearances for the side. Full time 1-4
Panel: M Armstrong, D Young, L Rea, J Montgomery, C Black, C Gordon, P Ferris, J Agnew, B Dallas, J Hunter, C Fullerton, J Dallas, J Telford, S Millar
Northend United 1 Steadfast 0 Saturday 8th April 2022
In the Semi Final of the Sammy Moore cup Northend faced off against Woodside after some tight battles in the league earlier in the season, with both teams looking at this competition as their last chance of silverware for the season.
The first half was a fairly tame affair without too many clear cut chances, and Woodside probably looking the better of the two teams. Woodside did see a couple of long range efforts go narrowly past the post and Northend goalkeeper Jason Givens made a solid low save in Woodsides best chance of the half.
The best opening for either sides did fall to Northend as Conal Gordon put a good cross into the back post and Peter McClelland stretched to meet it but was unlucky to just poke the ball to the Woodside keeper from 6 yards when surely anywhere else in the net would have produced a goal. Half time 0-0
In the second half the game opened up a bit more and Northendís standards certainly improved, being able to hold the ball better, but still without seriously troubling the Woodside keeper too much. It was actually Woodside who came closest to scoring first as a long range effort looked destined for the top corner only for Givens to get fingertips to it and turn it around the post.
Finally, the breakthrough came for the team in Blue as a loose ball in the box fell to Patrick Ferris who drove the ball into the net to the elation of the Northend sideline.
Woodside tried to push for an equaliser but the young Northend side managed the game well and looked the more likely to grab the second goal, eventually managing to hang in until the final whistle and earning their place in the Final. Full time 1-0
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), J McClelland, P McClelland, J Speirs, C McKillop, C Gordon, P Ferris, C Fullerton, B Dallas, C Metrustry, J Hunter, C Black, J Agnew, D Young
Northend United 1 FC Antrim 2 Rainey Cup Saturday 26th March 2022
In the 2nd Round of the Rainey Cup Northend hosted 1st Division side FC Antrim at the Showgrounds. Whilst most neutrals expected Antrim to run away with this game early, the opening stages showed it would be far from an easy ride for the travelling team. A hungry and energetic Northend opening put FC Antrim under some pressure, but this early energy was stemmed as Antrim gained a soft goal from a goalmouth scramble after a corner. This knocked the initial energy out of the blues and the next 20 minutes were Antrim dominating possession but failing to create any clear cut chances, except for one headed chance from a corner.
Around the half hour mark, northend managed to fashion a chance as Conall Gordon worked hard on the right and pulled the ball back to Chris Fullerton who managed to turn and poke into the bottom corner to equalise. The goal buoyed the Blues and until the half time they were well on top and dominating the chances. Patrick Ferris went close as a corner ran through to him at the back post and he hit a shot that was brilliantly saved. From the resulting corner another chance fell to Jamie Spiers and his firm shot was blocked when it looked destined to hit the net. Ben Dallas also had a great chance as Gordon flicked the ball around the corner for him, and his effort was closed down by the keeper, with the ball rolling back to Gordon who hit a great shot with the outside of his foot from 25 yards which beat the keeper and was cleared off the line.
At the other end, Jason Givens was forced into a very good diving save and minutes later Luke Rea headed another chance off the line with a great reaction after Givens had made another save. Somehow the half still ended 1-1. Half time 1-1
The second half was a much tighter and frugal affair as both teams saw victory in sight. Ferris looked the main threat and set up Dallas to run through and chip the keeper, just to see his shot go the wrong side of the post.
Ferris himself had a ball drop to him in the box but snatched at the chance and hit the ball high over the bar.
Antrim were the team that cruelly broke the deadlock, as a long ball found a striker who looked to be well offside, but with no whistle forthcoming slotted into the bottom corner.
Northend did push for an equaliser but left themselves open, and Antrim did strike a free kick against the bar, as well as forcing Givens into another superb one on one save.
In the end, Antrim managed to hold on for the win, but the Blues can be proud of their performance against a top tier side. Full time 1-2
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), J McClelland, J Speirs, P McClelland, C Gordon, B Dallas, P Ferris, C Fullerton, J Hunter, J Agnew, C Black
Ahoghill FC 0 Northend United 6 Saturday 12th March 2022
Just 2 weeks after facing up in the Rainey Cup, Northend once again travelled to Ahoghill to take on Ahoghill FC, this time in a return to league football. The early stages witnessed a blistering start from the Northend team, with Chris Fullerton and Patrick Ferris both hitting the woodwork in the opening minutes. Northend did find the breakthrough early as Ben Dallas found some space on the left and worked a cross to Ferris who calmly tapped home. Northend weíre determined to put the game to bed early, and a flurry of goals followed as first, Chris Fullerton finished a good move sweeping in at the back post, and then minutes later directed a low shot onto the post which was rebounded home by Dallas.†
Fullerton then grabbed another as another rebound fell to him and that left the Blues 4-0 up within 20 minutes. The pace of the game did drop off at this stage and Northend still looked to dominate, they failed to make the most of their chances. Jonny McClelland went closest as he headed a corner against the bar but half time came with no further goals. Half time 0-4
The second half was a more competitive affair as neither team really managed to seize control of the game but the Northend defence managed to repel the Ahoghill attackers and conceded no real chances. At the other end Ferris again caused issues for the Ahoghill defence and at one stage showed quick feet in the box and was brought down for a penalty. Joseph Dallas stepped up and dispatched it into the top corner.
Ferris was the main threat in the second half for the Blues and managed to again evade 2 defenders before forcing a great save, but the Ahoghill keeper saw the ball fall straight to Fullerton who completed his hat trick with a tap in.†Full Time 0-6
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, L Rea (c), J McClelland, J Speirs, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, C Metrustry, P Ferris, C Fullerton, O Connelly, J Agnew
Seven Towers 1 Northend United 1 Saturday 5th March 2022
In a top of the table clash, Northend came up against a high flying Seven Towers side who they had lost to just weeks previous.
The young northend side started the game with a particular determination, knowing chances of a league title and promotion would depend heavily on the result of this game. Both teams really struggled to create any clear cut chances, with Christie McKillop and Chris Fullerton seeing some shooting chances go astray. The only real chance of the first half did fall to towers, as a header from a corner forced a fantastic save from Jason Givens. Half time 0-0
Again, in the second half, the defences were on top, with Jamie Montgomery in particular having a fantastic game in the heart of the defence for the Blues. Northendís first real chance of the game came from a corner, and Oisin Connolly tried a superb acrobatic effort which was turned away by the goalkeeper.
Another counter-attack led to Jack Agnew releasing James Hunter, and Hunter cut inside his man before again forcing a good save from the keeper. It was Towers who found the breakthrough, a flowing move releasing a man down the right, and his low cross being turned home from close range.
The Blues rallied and responded excellently, and 10 minutes before the close of the game, a corner fell to Jamie Montgomery to drill home sparking great celebrations. Neither team could push for the winner effectively and in the end the spoils were shared in a fair result after a fantastic game. Full time 1-1
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), J McClelland, J Speirs, O Connolly, C McKillop, C Gordon, J Hunter, C Fullerton, C Metrustry, J Agnew, C Black, B Dallas