Hillsborough Colts 2 Northend United 5 Saturday 8th February 2020
In difficult conditions both teams played some excellent football. The blues got off to a perfect start when Maguire's surging run down the left setup Finnegan in the area his shot was well saved but Kaczmarek not known for his poaching was on hand to tap in. The blues continued to dominate and 15 minutes in Finnegan's effort from the edge of the box deceived the keeper and dropped into the net to double the lead.
With the wind picking up Hillsborough took advantage of the conditions to push the blues back. Hesitation in defence between McFadden and Matchett saw the ball break to a red shirt to slot home. With 3 minutes to the interval a high ball from outside the box swirled in the wind and over Matchett's head. Half time 2-2
The second half started with the blues stepping up the intensity, Smyth and McKay took control at centre back with Stewart and McIlhatton winning the midfield battles allowing Finnegan to drive forward. With only 3 minutes gone Maguire and McIlhatton combined to set Kaczmarek through on goal to slot home his second of the game. The blues were now dominating and Finnegan fired home his second from inside a crowded box. With 15 minutes remaining a thunderous clearance from Smyth set Kaczmarek free on the half way line the striker outpaced 2 defenders skipped past the keeper and fired home to complete his hat-trick. Campbell replaced Kaczmarek for the last 15 minutes and was unlucky not to grab at least one goal.
This was another assured performance with McKay, Smyth, and Greer solid in defence. Stewart on his introduction showed well, McIlhatton and Finnegan controlled the middle of the park and Kaczmarek was back to his deadly best. In difficult conditions it wasn't storm Ciara who caused problems but storm Clodagh who blew away the Hillsborough threat with a five star performance at left back. Full time 2-5
Panel: C Matchett, J Greer, S Smyth, G McFadden, C Maguire, F McKay, F Connon, P Finnegan (2) J McIlhatton, M O'Donnell, J Kaczmarek (3), L Campbell, J Stewart, J Nellins, M Mongan & G Kenny
Northend United 5 Lisburn Rangers 1 Saturday 1st February 2020
A blustery Wallace Park was the venue for the Blues venture into the LJIL Cup. The game opened brightly with both teams having early chances the Blues going closest with a Kaczmarek effort cleared off the line. Bankhead was alert to the danger of a long through ball racing from his penalty area to clear. Maguire and McKay were connecting well playing simple but effective football to create space for Finnegan and O'Donnell to drive forward.
On 8 minutes an excellent ball from Finnegan found Connon down the left his early ball to Kaczmarek the striker rounded the keeper and squared to Connon who fired home the opener. The Blues were now playing with a confidence on the ball, Finnegan added a second when he made space in the box to score low in the corner. Good work from O'Donnell down the right his cross finding Kaczmarek his first time effort was well saved but Finnegan was on hand to grab his second. Half time 3-0
The second half gave the management team an opportunity to give playing time to the panel. The changes did not deter the effort from the blues, and an early goal from Finnegan effectively killed the game off. On a rare venture forward from the Lisburn boys Matchett saved brilliantly at the feet of their striker. With 15 minutes gone, Nellins was upended and Finnegan found the net from the free-kick to round off an excellent personal performance. The Blues played some flowing football throughout this game and a late long range effort from Lisburn didn't take the gloss off the performance. The defence of Greer, Smyth, McFadden and Maguire were solid; McKay was composed at CDM and linked play well with the midfield where Finnegan and O'Donnell were excellent. In the plethora of changes McIlhatton, Nellins, Campbell and Maka delivered solid displays. Full time 5-1
Panel: M Bankhead, J Greer, S Smyth, G McFadden, C Maguire, F McKay, F Connon (1), P Finnegan (4) J Stewart, M O'Donnell, J Kaczmarek, L Campbell, J McIlhatton, J Nellins, O Maka, C Matchett, M Mongan, J Magill
Lisburn Youth 0 Northend United 3 Saturday 11th January 2020
The Blues were looking to bounce back after a lack lustre post Christmas performance.
The game started brightly with both teams having early chances. The Blues should have opened the scoring 10 mins in when good work from Connon and McKay setup Kazcmerak but his first time shot went narrowly wide. A 10 minute spell where hesitation in defence saw Stewart and Smyth indebted to Bankhead for brave one on one saves. Kazcmerak popped up on the right wing beating two defenders to cross into the danger area but Campbell just couldn't connect.
With 5 minutes remaining in the first half McKay controlled a high ball turned his man and played a perfect through pass to Kazcmerak who made no mistake as he rounded the keeper and fired home the opener. Half time 0-1
The second half saw the Blues take control of the game with the Lisburn boys squandering an early opportunity from a set piece. The midfield of Campbell and Connon were getting a grip on the game allowing McKay the freedom to pull the strings as he set Kazcmerak through for a carbon copy of his first. With confidence high, Mongan, Connon and McKay all went close. With 10 minutes remaining it was Kazcmerak who pounced on a mistake in the Lisburn defence to fire home his third.
This was a very assured second half performance. Stewart, McFadden and Greer were solid at the back, Campbell, Connon and McKay controlled the middle of the park with Kazcmerak back to his best up front. Bankhead deserves special mention as he denied Lisburn 3 times in the opening minutes with top class saves. Full time 0-3
Panel: M Bankhead, J Stewart, E Smyth, G McFadden, J Greer, F McKay, L Campbell, F Connon, M O'Donnell, N Porter J Kazcmerak (3), M Mongan & J Magill