Antrim Eagles 1 Northend United 3 Saturday 30th October 2021
This week Northend travelled to Allen Park to take on league newcomers Antrim Eagles who had climbed to 4th after some recent strong results. The Blues started the game on the back foot, struggling to maintain any meaningful possession, but also prevented the Antrim side from creating any chances with some solid defence.
The best chance of the early stages came when Peter McClelland hit a low shot from outside the box and Jamie Spiers reacted first to hit a rebound, only for the keeper to react well to smother the follow up. At the other end the back 4 of Armstrong, Black, Rea and McClelland continued to deal with a tricky attack, and Jason Givens had a few routine saves from distance to make without really being troubled.
The first goal of the game did come as a Northend counter opened up the pitch and James Hunter turned a defender on halfway, before sliding a pass through for Jack Agnew, who cut inside onto his right and curled a tidy finish into the bottom right corner. A second nearly came soon after as Jonny McClelland got onto the end of a Spiers free kick to glance a header onto the post. Half time 1-0
As the game got older, Northend gradually seized more and more control, but an equaliser from Eagles came early in the second half as their centre forward managed to poke home a corner which wasnít effectively cleared.
For a period it looked as though the game may drift into a sharing of the points as Northend missed some golden chances. First Peter McClelland won the ball on the edge of the Eagles box and hit an early strike across the keeper only for the inside of the post to prevent the goal. Then, in a period of five minutes, Conal Gordon put in two excellent crosses begging to be finished, the first headed wide by Jack Agnew, and the second by Chris Fullerton. It was the combination of those 3 players who did eventually find the breakthrough. Agnew chased a ball to the by-line and back heeled to Gordon, who crossed it low into Fullerton who was able to turn home and give Northend the lead.
Soon after, a kick from Givens was flicked on by Agnew and again Fullerton found himself in on goal and able to round the keeper to secure the 3 points. Full time 3-1
Panel: J Givens, C Black, L Rea (c), M Armstrong, J McClelland, J Speirs, P McClelland, C Gordon, C Metrustry, J Hunter, J Agnew, D Young, C Fullerton
North Ballymena Rangers 2 Northend United 4 Saturday 23rd October 2021
This week Northend faced a tough test at the Showgrounds against an unbeaten North Ballymena Rangers side who were looking like contending for top spot this season. Northend started the game brightly and a tidy team move led to Ben Dallas having an early one on one but the Rangers keeper dived low at his feet to grab the ball well. Similarly, some early good work from Conall Gordon led to him crossing to the back post and Jack Agnew had a great chance to volley home but failed to connect cleanly.
The first goal came at the other end though as Dylan Young came out of his box to clear a through ball, and a North Ballymena midfielder picked up the ball and struck it well to score from the halfway line. Half Time 1-0
After the break Northend really upped the tempo and their pressing was very effective, and it paid dividends early in the half. Agnew chased a lost cause and managed to pressure the defender and keeper into a mix up, picked up the ball and tapped into an empty net. After Dallas had to be withdrawn, Charlie Metrustry came off the bench and had an immediate impact.
Mike Armstrong won the ball high up the pitch and found Gordon, who in turn passed it to Agnew. Agnew, on the right side of the area played a great diagonal to Metrustry at the back post, who chested the ball into the air and then chipped the goalkeeper to score a fantastic goal.
He wasnít done there as minutes later Jamie Spiers beat a couple of men with some quick feet and Metrustry hit the ball first time to sweep the ball into the bottom corner.
North Ballymena hit back with about 15 minutes remaining as Young made a good save but the striker followed in to give Rangers some hope of a comeback.
In the final minutes however Northend killed the game as Chris Fullerton took the ball with his back to goal and turned it around the corner and sent Spiers through on goal from the halfway line, who took his time and slotted in to confirm the win. Final score 2-4
Panel: D Young, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea, M Armstrong (c), J McClelland, P McClelland, J Speirs, C Gordon, B Dallas, J Agnew, C Metrustry, C Fullerton, C Black
Northend United 0 Killough 3 ToalsBet Junior Shield Saturday 16th october 2021
In the second round of the Junior Shield, Killough travelled to Broughshane for a place in the hat of the next round. The game had a disappointing start for Northend as McKillop went down injured in the first 5 minutes and had to be brought off, as well as Metrustry getting an early injury and spending some time off the pitch, so naturally the Blues struggled to settle into any early rhythm.
Killough did strike the first blow as a corner was deflected into the Blues net after some pinball.
Northend attempted to seize back some control but Killough had a few chances which Jason Givens did well to save and hold to prevent any follow ups.
Northendís chances were limited to some long range efforts from the edge of the box with Peter McClelland going closest and Jamie Speirs nearly latching onto a cross when it looked like he had been pushed. Half Time 0-1
The second half quickly brought Northendís best chance as Mike Armstrong played McClelland through on goal and he was just unable to beat the onrushing Killough keeper.
Killough extended their lead as a free kick was unluckily deflected into the net past Givens who had no chance. For the last 20 minutes Northend struggled to get a foothold in the game and Killough grabbed a third with a strike from a wide angle.
Northend were well beaten on the day as they struggled to get to full pace and a well drilled Killough side took full advantage. Full time 0-3
We also want to wish Christy McKillop a quick recovery after dislocating his shoulder in the game
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), M Armstrong, P McClelland, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, C Metrustry, J Speirs, D Young, J Agnew, C Fullerton, C Black
Holywell 2 Northend United 5 Saturday 9th october 2021
Holywell started the game the stronger of the two teams and some early chances nearly opened the scoring. The first clear cut chance was a header at the back post which Givens somehow kept out with an extremely quick reaction save to his right.
At the other end Northend also had chances of their own despite their sluggish performance and Ben Dallas went closest in the early stages with a shot into the side netting.
Jason Givens made some more saves, with another notable save from outside the box which looked destined for the top corner, as well as sweeping up some danger in behind the defence.
The breakthrough came when Holywell broke down the right and a low cross was tapped in at the back post. Northend had a great chance to equalise when Jamie Speirs broke down the right and his shot was parried into a dangerous area, but Charlie Metrustry was off balance as he hit the rebound and it went just over.
The equaliser did come when Peter McClelland picked up a loose ball and weighted a pass through the defence for Ben Dallas to run onto and fire into the roof of the net. Half Time 1-1
The second half performance from Northend was much brighter and the quality on the ball shone through as Northend managed to grab the lead early in the second half. Conall Gordon picked up the ball in his own half and beat one player on the outside before nutmegging another and his low shot was saved straight into the path of Jamie Spiers to tap home.
Holywell did manage to equalise from a corner before Northend scored immediately to regain the lead as Dallas and Agnew exchanged some quick passes before Ben Dallas finished across the keeper. Speirs soon got his second after a great run on the right led to him beating a defender, before cutting inside a second and passing into the net. Not to be outdone, Ben Dallas latched onto a loose Holywell pass before driving towards goal and hammering the ball home for his hattrick. Full Time 5-2
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), G Bellingham, P McClelland, J Speirs, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, C Metrustry, J Agnew, C Black, C Fullerton, R McKillop
Woodside 1 Northend United 3 Saturday 2nd October 2021
Northend started the game with a good tempo and dominated the early stages creating a few chances with Ferris having a shot cleared off the line and a number of crosses into the box just falling out of reach.
The first 30 minutes were a good performance without any reward as the final ball was lacking, and Jack Agnew went close after Christie McKillop looped a ball to the back post and Jackís header forced a good save. The breakthrough came when Ferris collected a throw in and turned inside before coolly slotting into the bottom left corner. A second goal came soon after as a ball broke to Peter McClelland in the penalty box and he passed it into the far corner to double the lead. Half time 0-2
The second half also started with some early chances, but Patrick went over on his ankle and needed to be withdrawn. Soon after Montgomery found Christie McKillop inside the box and some smart footwork led to the defender kicking his ankle and winning a penalty. Jack Agnew stepped up and although his initial shot was saved, the ball fell kindly to tap into the net.
Woodside got a lifeline as a tug back led to a penalty for them and it was well finished in the corner.
For a short period Northend showed some nerves and Jason Givens was forced to make a good low save, but after that the back 4 were flawless and gave away very little opportunities in closing the game out. Ben Dallas and Ronan McKillop had chances at the other end to kill the game, but some decent saves meant the game ended 3-1. Full time 3-1
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), M Armstrong, P McClelland, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, J Agnew, P Ferris, C Metrustry, C Fullerton, C Black, R McKillop
Northend United 4 Sixmile Athletic 3 Saturday 24th September
Northend United Seniors returned to league action this week against Sixmile Athletic. The early stages of the game were dominated by the Northend side, with some fluid football and brave play, and early reward led to Charlie Metrustry instigating a counter attack and playing a lovely pass for Patrick Ferris to run on to and pass the ball into the corner to give an early lead.
Chances followed for Northend with Ferris again forcing a save, and Ben Dallas and Conal Gordon firing wide from good positions.
A moment of brilliance at the other end brought the scores level, as a free kick from outside the box was perfectly placed giving Jason no chance to save it.
The Ballymena lads responded well though and Gordon found himself behind the defence and was able to square into the box for Ferris to score his second. Half time 2-1
The second half brought an early onslaught from Sixmile and brought an equaliser as a ball into the middle was poorly dealt with, and Givens being very unlucky to see the ball loop into the net after what otherwise would have been a great save.
From then however, Northend really turned it on, and the addition of James Hunter added some impetus in attack. Strong work from Hunter on the left created a crossing position and the ball eventually fell for Ferris to complete his hat trick.
He wasnít done there as a few minutes later Ferris ran 30 yards with the ball driving at the defence and unleashed a strike right into the bottom corner for his 4th and best of the game.
Northend then had some golden chances to kill the game. Ferris, Hunter, and Jamie Montgomery all had golden chances to kill the game but fired straight at the keeper. And the defence of Northend were relatively untroubled for large periods.
In stoppage time Sixmile did get a goal back from another set piece, but it was too little too late and Northend hung on for the win. Final score 4-3
Although the scoreline doesnít reflect the dominance of the Ballymena team, this was potentially one of their best performances of the season, with Ferris providing the goal threat and Peter McClelland particularly good in midfield
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), C McKillop, P McClelland, C Gordon, B Dallas, C Metrustry, C Fullerton, P Ferris, J Hunter, J Speirs, D Young, C Black
Northend United 0 Seven Towers 2 Saturday 11th September 2021
Northend were back in League action this week in a league match against a strong Seven Towers in the BSML.
The first half was a physical, hard fought affair but even with neither side making any significant chances. Ben Dallas came closest for the Northend team with a volley from the edge of the box that was well saved. Half time 0-0
Early in the 2nd half Seven Towers took the lead as a free kick was headed in at the near post. Northend tried to respond and came closest with good chances for Patrick Ferris and Mike Armstrong but they couldnít find the finishing touch. Seven Towers sealed the win with a long range deflected strike and the Northend team couldnít find a response. Full time 0-2
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, J Montgomery, L Rea (c), M Armstrong, J Speirs, C McKillop, C Gordon, B Dallas, C Metrustry, P Ferris, J Hunter, D Young, J Agnew, C Black, C Fullerton
Northend United 0 North Ballymena Rangers 1 Wednesday 11th May 2021
Northend Seniors entertained North Ballymena Rangers in a midweek quarter final Galgorm Trophies Cup match
North Ballymena settled into this game early on but were restricted to shooting from range. Northend Youth gradually grew into the game and had a great chance to take the lead on 38 minutes, only for the Rangers keeper to make a good save. Half time 0-0
Second half saw both teams pick up where they left off the first half, attacking from end to end. On 53 minutes North Ballymena took the lead from a hotly disputed free kick awarded on the edge of the Blues penalty box.
Northend picked themselves up and kept the pressure on the North Ballymena rearguard. Chrissy Fullerton should have pulled the Blues level on 75 minutes but saw his back-post shot go narrowly past the upright. In a frantic finish to the game, the Blues saw a corner twice cleared off the Rangers goal line but couldnít find a way past the North Ballymena rearguard. Full time 0-1
Panel: D Geddis, J Dallas, D Young, J Montgomery, L Spurgeon, P McClelland, C Bailes, J Spiers, C Gordon, M Armstrong, C Fullerton, J Hunter, J Agnew, C McKillop
Cullybackey Blues 4 Northend United 6 Saturday 8th May 2021
This Saturday northend Seniors travelled to Tober Park to take on division 2 side Cullybackey Blues.
A frantic first half was filled with goals as Peter McClelland, Jamie Montgomery And Cameron Bailes grabbed a goal each, and Mike Armstrong got 2, to leave the score 5-2 at halftime to the Northend team. Half time 2-5
In the second half the Blues made a fight back and brought the game to 5-4, before Mike Armstrong grabbed his third of the game to kill the tie, leaving Northend 3rd in the group and progressing to the last 16 of the Galgorm Cup. Full time 4-6
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, S McKinney, J Montgomery, L Spurgeon, P McClelland, D Young, J Hunter, C Gordon, M Armstrong, C Fullerton, J Agnew, G Bellingham