Northend United 1 Castlewellan Town 3 Saturday 26th February 2022
Another tight encounter but Castlewellan came out on top as deserved victors in the end. Not much between the teams for large parts of the game, but Castlewellan were that bit more competitive in the decisive moments.
Northend began the game rather sluggish and took time to gain any momentum in the game. Castlewellan started the brighter getting to the ball first and showing intent without overly troubling the Northend back four who looked comfortable. A few substitutions at the mid-point of the second half injected a bit of energy into the Northend attacks. On a number of occasions quick incisive passing football gave Northend a number of openings at goal. The most notable was an exchange between Drysdale and Jamieson in the midfield which sent Jamieson in the clear to hit the target from the edge of the box and take the lead before the half end. Half Time 1-0
The second half was a much improved performance from Castlewellan. The midfield for Northend couldn’t get a foothold in the game and the Northend attacks dried up. Castlewellan were first to every ball and were that but more aggressive and hungry. After some good work down the left side Castlewellan pressure paid off when a cross was taken by the wind to hit the top corner. This encouraged further attacks from Castlewellan and good play down the right set up a solo run beating a number of players to cut through the heart of the Northend defense and poke the ball home to take the lead. Northend’s misery was soon made worse when another cross from the left missed everybody and hit the back of the net. A very lack luster second half performance from the young blues ended in defeat and Castlewellan were deserved winners in the end. Full Time 1-3
Panel: C Lavelle, H Pekala, A Pekala, L Barnett, K O’Neill, S Kerr, E Lavelle (c), S McArdle, D Morrow, E Drysdale, C King, K McGarel, J Jamieson, R McKane.
Northend United 2 Lisburn Distillery 0 Saturday 12th February 2022
Another tight game in a repeat of last week’s cup fixture against Lisburn Distillery. Not much between the teams for large parts of the game, but the young Blues came out deserved victors in the end to extend their unbeaten run to four.
Northend began the game rather sluggish and took time to gain any momentum in the game. Distillery started the brighter getting in behind the Northend defence twice with a direct approach. On both occasions young Scott Kerr swept up the danger showing his class and ability remaining calm under pressure. Northend created little in the first half with a blocked Corey King effort the most threatening. However, Northend finished the half the stronger nullifying the Distillery threat and Lucas Barnett and Hubert Pekala having very strong performances as wing backs countering and dealing with any attacks on the outside. Half Time 0-0
The second half was a much improved performance for the young Blues. The midfield trio of Drysdale, McArdle and Lavelle started dominating the game. The boys started getting the ball down and playing football and the possession started paying dividends at the top end of the Pitch. Jamieson was becoming ever more threatening in the game and a typical direct run from Jay allowed him to get the ball onto his right peg to let fly and take the lead for the young Blues. Kian McGarel had a number of efforts on goal and McArdle was driving the ball forward creating pressure on the Distillery defence. Pressure from McGarel and McArdle earned a corner for the young Blues. McGarel’s delivery was right on the money and was met cleanly by the head of O’Neill and onto the post, only to be cleared for another corner. Another great delivery from McGarel resulted in a mele for the second ball in the penalty box. O’Neill still up from the back got his foot on the ball to poke the ball home and create some daylight in the score for the first time in the match. Northend had a few more chances but we’re too eager to take the early shot rather than slip the square ball for the easier option. In the end the young Blues were deserved of their victory. Nice to see a return of Reece McKane to the team and he was well needed on a day where the squad was depleted due to sickness and injury. Full time 2-0
Man of the Match: Hubert Pekala
Panel: C Lavelle, H Pekala, L Barnett, K O’Neill, S Kerr, E Lavelle (c), S McArdle, E Drysdale, C King, K McGarel, J Jamieson, R McKane.
Northend United 1 Lisburn Distillery 0 Saturday 5th February 2022
Another strong performance from the young Pizza Parlour Blues, who are now beginning to show some consistency in performance. A blustery day again with a strong wind to contend with, however this didn’t stop football being played. Northend battled hard against a good Lisburn Distillery outfit, in a very tight affair but deservedly nudged the victory to go on to the next round in the cup.
Northend again started on the front foot, getting to the ball first and pressing with intensity. This hampered Distillery gaining any momentum despite the wind advantage. The first half was quite a tight cagey affair with Northend limiting Lisburn to the long ball which was easy for the confident Lavelle in goal. Back four of Patenall, Kerr, O’Neill and Pekala were on top, bravely playing out from the back and controlling the game. Da Prato, Lavelle and McArdle were dominant in midfield carrying the ball forward and biting hard into the tackle. Northend only had a couple of chances in first half both coming from centre forward Jamieson. Jay made a good breaking forward run driving at the heart of defence. After holding off two defenders he shot wide right when the ball was to McGarel, who was free at the back stick. However, when a similar attack occurred shortly after Jamieson fired the ball across goal to his strike partner McGarel who looked set to take the lead. McGarel opted for a snap shot with his right, when he had time and space, he scuffed the resultant shot to the relief of the Distillery dugout. Half Time 0-0
Second half showed further dominance from Northend when Distillery’s kicking game was muted into the strong wind. McArdle was starting to run the show in midfield and Distillery had to resort to consistent fouling. They were well warned by the referee but still they couldn’t stop Sam who was having a stormer. Some nice passing exchanges from Morrow, Lavelle and Drysdale opened up opportunity for the front two. McGarel had the best chance when he broke free on the left, again the ball was the square pass to Jamieson free at the back but Kian powered the shot just left of the post and into the side netting. Northend had a number of shots on target from McGarel and Jamieson which were well saved by the big Distillery keeper who was having a great game. Pressure was building and a 30yard volley from O’Neill just wide showed the intent of the Northend boys and an eye for goal. With ten minutes to go Distillery finally started to get a foothold in the game and exerted pressure. A break down the left resulted in Distillery getting into the Northend box for the first time in the game. However, the steely Kerr stepped across with a strong brave tackle winning the ball to avert the danger. The referee however controversially adjudged a penalty as Kerr had taken man and ball. This was really harsh and a booking for Kerr who had been a Colossus at the back rubbed salt into the wound. Lavelle was also booked for dissent as a number of players rounded the referee. For the second week in a row Lavelle looked confident, big and strong in the Northend goal when facing up to the penalty. The ball was struck hard and high but somehow Lavelle got fingertips to tip it onto the bar for the second penalty save in consecutive weeks. This kicked the Northend boys on and Drysdale looked to have won it a few minutes later with a shot into the corner that was well saved. However, Northend kept fighting to win this in regulation time. With a minute to go pressure built down the right and just as he had done in first half Jamieson fired the ball across goal from the right to his strike partner McGarel. This time Kian opened his body and took a touch to allow the ball to drop onto his favoured left. He calmy slotted the ball away into the bottom left corner of the net leaving the big keeper no chance. This was to be the winner and was received to rapturous applause from the travelling faithful. The boys really deserved their victory today with hard work, grit, determination and a bit more confidence and composure on the ball. Well done all. Full time 1-0
Man of the Match: S McArdle
Panel: C Lavelle, H Pekala, K O’Neill, S Kerr (c), A Pekala, N Patenall, E Lavelle, C Da Prato, S McArdle, E Drysdale, C King, D Morrow, K McGarel, J Jamieson
Northend United 3 Chimney Corner 1 Saturday 29th January 2022
Today was a much improved performance for the young blues who took on in form side Chimney Corner at Wallace Park. Northend played with aggression and intensity from first to last whistle and were well worth their victory.
Northend started bravely pressing the ball and not giving Chimney Corner a second. The pressure built with much of the ball in the Chimney Corner half. The young Corner lads found it very hard to get out despite their wind advantage. Much of the ball was down the left side with Kian McGarel seeing a lot of the ball and linking well with the blue’s big centre forward Jamieson who was causing havoc in Chimney Corner's defence. Kian O’Neill’s long throws were getting Northend in on goal and two guilt age chances were spurned from McGarel and Jamieson with the big Chimney keeper always going to be an obstacle. Chimney Corner finally got a chance of their own when the big number 10 broke free and a cross shot was calmly pulled out of the air by keeper Lavelle who was looking reassured in goal today. Northend’s pressure finally told when Jamieson was released by McGarel and he rounded two defenders and the keeper to slot home. Lucas Barnett and Caleb Da Prato kept both Chimney Corners wingmen in check and the Corner lads resulted to long ball football which was easy for O’Neill and Kerr at the back. Lavelle and McArdle had the midfield under control and setup another few chances which required great reaction from the Chimney Corner shot stopper. Finally, though the big Chimney keeper’s kickout paid dividends for the Corner when a long clearance found the big number 10 and a crossed ball saw Chimney Corner’s speedy winger in the clear. Da Prato made a scramble and a diving last ditch slide tackle took the forward down on the edge of the box and his momentum carried him on in. The referee adjudged a penalty to the consternation of the Northend dug out. However, Lavelle got into the head of the big number 10 and saved the penalty. Justice was done and the young blues were well worth their lead at the break. Half time 1-0
The second half saw good reaction from Chimney Corner and they started getting a foothold in the game causing pressure and crosses from the right. However, Lavelle turned defence into attack with a long clearance that set McGarel in on goal. McGarel calmly slotted away to double the lead. Chimney Corner started to dominate the game and they finally converted pressure and possession with a shot from the right hand side which was fired into the top corner leaving Lavelle no chance. Not long after another attack saw a cross from the right meet the Chimney Corner striker who had slipped his marker. Just as he was about to convert home, Da Prato nudged him and he skyed the chance over the bar. This was a warning shot to the sideline. Northend switched from a 4-3-3 to a 4-5-1 and left their big striker Jamieson as a target man. The numbers in midfield allowed Lavelle and captain of the day McArdle to smother the ball and regain the upper hand. McArdle who put in a captain’s performance now enjoyed possession setting up a number of Northend attacks. Frustration turned to decent for the Corner lads who kicked out a number of times and were very lucky not to see red when King was kicked on the ground. However, Northend got on with playing football. They came very close to sealing the victory when McGarel’s top corner bound free kick was saved by the big Chimney goalkeeper, but McGarel didn’t blink when he got another chance and slotted passed the outrushing keeper to get the third and his brace before the final whistle. A well-earned victory with a much improved performance gives confidence for the young Blues going into the second half of the season. Full time 3-1
Man of the Match: C Lavelle
Panel: C Lavelle, H Pekala, K O’Neill, S Kerr, L Barnett, E Lavelle, C Da Prato, S McArdle (c), E Drysdale, C King, D Morrow, K McGarel, J Jamieson.
Northend United 2 Lisdrum Youth 2 Saturday 22nd January 2022
Northend started the game the brighter, with a front three of McGarel, Da Prato and Drysdale showing their attacking intent from the off. Lavelle and Jamieson were in midfield along Scott Kerr to support the front three. Northend had a number of opportunities but just held onto the ball too long to release the free man. This resulted in a number of free kicks. The most telling was a brilliant delivery from Sam McArdle on the right which just needed any sort of contact for a goal but the keeper parried for what looked a certain lead from Kerr. somehow a scrambled clearance off the line deflected off the post and evaded all Northend players to be cleared. The ball was then punted forward and a mixup in communication between keeper and backline allowed the Lisdrum forward to ghost in and chip Lavelle to take the lead somewhat against the run of play. This spurred Northend on and Jamieson was battling hard in the midfield winning ball and driving at the Lisdrum defence. A foul on the edge of the box brought Jamieson down while bearing in on goal. McGarel took the resulting free kick which was cleared but only landed to Pekala who delivered the ball back into the box. Da Prato improvised and flicked the ball with his knee, diverting into far corner for a goal. Not long after the impressive McGarel broke the Lisdrum defence to go through one on one. He seemed to wait for an age to release the shot when it looked a certainty and somehow the defence somehow recovered and blocked the shot. Northend ended the half on a whimper and looked lost of ideas and tired. Half time 1-1
The second half was very different and Lisdrum dominated the proceedings creating numerous chances and cutting through the Northend rear guard at will only for Scott Kerr to recover on a number of occasions. Finally, the pressure told when a mix-up at the back allowed the striker to finally get the better of Kerr and take the Lead. Lisdrum were much more competitive and looked comfortable in front. Northend made a tactical switch as they were having little impact on the game and went to three at the back and moved big central defender Jamieson up top. This had immediate reward and Jay was bullying the back line allowing Northend a foothold in the game. The pressure paid off when Jamieson went on a strong run breaking through the heart of the defence and firing a bullet into the bottom corner to get the equaliser. That was the final score and a fair result in the balance of play. Full time 2-2
Panel: C Lavelle, A Pekala, K O’Neill, S Kerr, H Pekala, N Patenall (c), E Lavelle, C Da Prato, S McArdle, E Drysdale, C King, D Morrow, K McGarel
Northend United 1 Oxford Sunnyside 4 Saturday 15th January 2022
Northend started the game the brighter, pressing high but struggling to unlock a very well organised defence. However, their early pressure was rewarded when Kian McGarel got on the end of a Scott Kerr free kick from midway inside the Sunnyside half. The goalkeeper got to the first attempt but Kian made sure with the second to take the lead. The half was well balanced with two well organised sides going toe to toe. Oxford earned their equaliser with good pressure down the left getting in behind the Northend defence and creating a chance which was well finished. Northend edged the first half with possession and pressure but we’re caught out by a contentious free-kick before the half end. Scott Kerr made a good recovery tackle on the edge of the box but the referee adjudged studs to be showing and as well as the free kick Kerr was brandished a yellow card. The attempt was well saved by keeper Lavelle but unfortunately the save rebounded off the cross bar for a free header into an empty net. Half time 1-2
Northend may have felt unlucky to be behind at the break but that was only made worse at the start of the second half when caught out by a sucker punch third to go two behind. Northend heads had dropped at this point and not long after another counter attack resulted in a fourth. Most of the pressure was from Sunnyside and Conor Lavelle had to make a number of saves to keep the score down further. Northend did try and fight back and created a number of chances themselves with McGarel and Drysdale linking well up top. Unfortunately, they were well beaten on the day by a very well organised Sunnyside team. Full time 1-4
Man of The Match: Conor Lavelle
Panel: C Lavelle, A Pekala, K O’Neill, S Kerr, H Pekala, N Patenall, E Lavelle (c), C Da Prato, S McArdle, E Drysdale, C King, D Morrow, L Barnett, K McGarel
Northend United 3 Lisburn Youth 6 Saturday 8th January 2022
Northend started strong from the off, pressing high and giving Lisburn defence problems in the first ten without creating any clear cut chances. Lisburn started to grow into the game and were getting joy down the left from there skilful winger only to be foiled by the Northend centre backs Jay Jamieson and Kian O’Neill on each occasion.
Northend hit on the counter-attack with a long ball to set Kian McGarel running in on goal who calmly slotted the ball past the on rushing keeper into the corner of the net.
Lisburn were putting the pressure on and we’re given a dubious free inside the Northend half. A long hopeful punt resulted in an equaliser as the long high ball foiled the Northend keeper, with a terrible bounce off the muddy penalty area and bobbled in over the line. This stroke of fortune seemed to spur on the Lisburn team and they were soon 2-1 up with a nice bit of football down the right hand side resulting in a parried cross which the striker slotted home. A tactical switch moved Adrian Pekala onto right back and Lucas Barnett onto the left. This seemed to give more natural balance and Lucas was having a stormer in this role negating the pace of the quick right wing.
It was end to end for a while before Northend started to take control of the tie. Kian McGarel was really up for this game and the Lisburn defenders were in a bit of panic every time he had the ball. Good play down the left put Kian through, he side-stepped a tackle and looked to lay off Corey King at the back post but he sold a dummy that keeper and back four bought and switched the ball to his left and let fly with a shot from 20yards which the Lisburn keeper could only parry into the net. Half time 2-2
Northend went out with confidence in second half as they felt they were on top. However, Lisburn started the half the stronger and before long went 3-2 up. Good wing play down the left set up the chance which wasn’t cleared at the front post for a tap in. This really turned the tie and panic began to set in at the back. Wind and hail battered down giving Lisburn advantage with the wind but they seemed also to cope with better with the harsh conditions.
Northend couldn’t keep hold of it for long enough and Lisburn capitalised on these errors and scored two in the space of five minutes to go 5-2 up. The first of which was a direct corner which using the wind went straight in unopposed. Heads were down but to Northend’s credit they made a fist of the last 15 even though the game looked gone.
The best move of the game came from Ethan Drysdale breaking free and playing in the on running Kian McGarel who crossed in for Corey King to slot home making it 5-3. This gave the boys a lift who started to pick up and create chances only for Lisburn to counter-attack and score the final goal of the game. Full time 3-6
Man of The Match: Lucas Barnett
Panel: C Lavelle, A Pekala, K O’Neill, S Kerr, J Jamieson (c), N Patenall, E Lavelle, C Da Prato, S McArdle, E Drysdale, C King, D Morrow, L Barnett, S McFerran, K McGarel