Lisburn Youth 3 Northend United 1 Saturday 28th October 2017
Northend entertained the runaway league leaders this week in a bruising encounter at Barbour. The Ballymena boys started brightly and almost went ahead on four minutes when the Lisburn keeper reacted quickly to push a Tyrone Mitchell shot past the post. The resulting corner saw a header glance over the cross bar and the blues look to have settled into a good rhythm of play. Lisburn edged themselves ahead on nineteen minutes when a driven right wing cross was bundled over the line. Northend responded strongly and took the game to the league leaders for the remainder of the half. There was always a physical element to the game and this boiled over towards the end if the half when a high, late, and sickening two footed challenge on Owen Campbell led to a straight red card for the Lisburn midfielder. The Blues were very much on top at this point and almost equalised when Tyrone Mitchell burst through into the area and was again thwarted by the Lisburn keeper. Northend levelled the game as the half drew to a close, Kai Barr beat three players on the edge of the area before cutting his pass back towards Connor McKenna who wasted no time in driving home the equaliser from fifteen yards. Half-time 1-1
Northend almost edged themselves ahead in the opening minute of the second half when Kai Barr and Kevin Cosgrove both had shots blocked in the area. Lisburn scored their second of the game following a swift counter attack. The Blues once again dug deep and pushed hard for an equaliser, Dylan McLaughlin was having an impressive game at right back and looked hungry in the tackle as the Ballymena boys stood their ground. Three further yellow cards were shown to Lisburn players and with at least one late and wild tackle going unpunished. With ten minutes remaining a blocked cross was picked up by the Northend keeper and with a dubious free kick being awarded, Lisburn notched their third of the game. The Blues pressed hard until the final but the Northend boys just couldn't find a goal to bring themselves back into the game. Full-time 3-1
In terms of football, the Blues matched the league leaders for long spells of the game. The referee did a good job in difficult circumstances and I'm sure the return fixture later in the season will just a keenly contested by both sides.
Men of the match: Tyrone Mitchell and Dylan McLoughlin - both boys gave everything in this game and never shirked from a challenge in a truly bruising encounter
Panel: C Wilson, D McLoughlin, O Campbell, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Cosgrove, C McKenna, L Hector, K Barr, S Crawford and S McDowell
Northend United 0 Banbridge Town 5 Saturday 14th October 2017
It was a League Shield fixture this week and Northend drew a difficult game against Banbridge, one of the hot favourites for the League title. The game started at a fast pace and Northend looked in determined mood with some good tackling and work off the ball. A crazy four minute spell at the mid-point of the half saw Northend lose their concentration and as a result Banbridge showed their ruthless edge by scoring three goals in quick succession. The Ballymena boys were rocked by this set back but showed a great spirit to fight their way back into the game. Northend almost pulled a goal back with five minutes of the half remaining when Jack McIlhatton teased the full back before crossing towards Lewis Hector who laid off a chance for Kevin Cosgrove on the edge of the area. Half-time 3-0
The Ballymena boys started the second half very strongly and for the opening ten minutes of the half-retained possession well and forced Banbridge onto the back foot. Around the four-minute mark, Jack McIlhatton created space for himself on the edge of the area and smashed a powerful effort against the cross bar. Moments later Kai Barr was no more than an inch away from steering a driven cross into the net. As in the first period, the boys had a momentary lapse in concentration at the mid pint of the half and Banbridge punished the blues with two goals, although one was clearly off-side by at least a couple of yards. Northend again responded well and finished the stronger side with two good chance falling to Lewis Hector and Tyrone Mitchell in the final ten minutes of the game. Full-time 5-0
The boys matched a strong Banbridge side for long spells of the game, but were punished by a very good side with a ruthless streak in-front of goal. The positives were clear though, when the blues settled into their stride they played some good football and looked solid throughout, they're continuing to improve and the benefit of playing against this quality of opposition can only be a good thing.
Man of the match - Kevin Cosgrove - fantastic work rate and started to influence the game more when he moved to a more central role.
Panel: C Wilson, D McLoughlin, O Campbell, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Cosgrove, J McIlhatton, C McKenna, L Hector, K Barr, S Crawford.
Northend United 0 Banbridge Town 4Saturday 30th September 2017
Northend 2004s had a tough game this week against one of the favourites and entered the game full of confidence following last Saturday's excellent display. Banbridge started the game brightly and retained possession well during the opening period. Northend were caught napping on five minutes when a sharp piece of passing created space for a Banbridge striker who slipped the ball into the far corner of the goal. The Ballymena boys gradually started to play their way back into the game; Jack McIlhatton was brought down on the edge of the area on eleven minutes and Tyrone Mitchell's free kick produced a great save from the Banbridge keeper. Banbridge responded with two goals in the space of five minutes, many other teams this season have simply folded at this stage, however the Ballymena boys dug deep and started to press their opponents back into their own half. David Magill and David McKay looked solid in their central defensive roles and broke up several pieces of play with some strong tackling. Dylan McLoughlin continued to impress in a new role at right back and Jack Adams again put in a good performance in a holding midfield role. With ten minutes remaining a loose ball in the Banbridge area broke to Kevin Cosgrove who shot narrowly over the bar. As the half-time drew closer, a good piece of play between Connor McKenna and Owen Campbell created space behind the Banbridge defence and Lewis Hector's shot shaved the outside of the post. Half-time 3-0
The Ballymena boys were caught cold at the start of the half when a high cross into the box wasn't dealt with quickly enough, but within minutes the blues had found their stride again and went close with efforts from Kai Barr Tyrone Mitchell and Lewis Hector. Northend were playing some good football and retained possession well for long spells. Curtis Wilson looked sharp in goals when he was called into action around the ten minute mark; and Connor McKenna almost pulled a goal back on fifteen minutes with a well struck shot from the edge of the box. David Magill got on the end of a Lewis Hector corner on seventeen minutes and was unlucky to see his effort glance off a Banbridge defender and go over the bar. Kevin Cosgrove was starting to dictate play in the middle of the pitch and it was a through ball from Kevin that found Tyrone Mitchell in space along the right wing and his whipped cross was almost forced over the line by Kai Barr. Time eventually ran out for Northend, although the boys deserve great credit for the way in which they responded to an early setback and they showed their continued development by playing some very good football against a strong Banbridge side. Full-time 4-0
The boys showed a great fighting spirt after an early set back and the quality of their play will take them a long way this season if they continue to work hard for each other. Keep it going boys!
Men of the match - Lewis Hector and David Magill both worked incredibly hard for the team and deserved so much more from the game.
Panel: S McDowell, D McLoughlin, O Campbell, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Cosgrove, J McIlhatton, C McKenna, L Hector, K Barr, C Wilson, S Crawford
Hillsborough Colts 1 Northend United 3 Saturday 23rd September 2017
Northend 2004s continued their good start to the season with a commanding display against Hillsborough Colts. The Ballymena side controlled the game from start to finish and played some great passing football which made full use of the space available at the expansive Barbour pitch. Jack McIlhatton signalled Northend's intent in the opening minute when he glided past the right back to fire a dangerous ball across the six-yard box. The blues took a deserved lead after eight minutes when Lewis Hector burst through on goal and was hauled down on the edge of the area by the keeper. Despite being the last defender, the Hillsborough keeper only received a yellow card, however Northend got their reward when Tyrone Mitchell fired home the free-kick to put the blues ahead. The Ballymena side were looking comfortable in possession and looked to extend their lead; however, they were caught out by a rare Hillsborough attack on sixteen minutes when Curtis Wilson made a good save when he found himself one on one with the Hillsborough striker, but could do little to keep out a second shot from close range. A great piece of attacking football on twenty minutes saw Jack McIlhatton carved open the Hillsborough defence and Lewis Hector's shot was brilliantly saved by the keeper. Northend's second came on twenty-five minutes when Connor McKenna played a clever ball behind the Hillsborough defence and Lewis Hector nipped in-front of the keeper to slide the ball into the net. As the half drew to a close Kevin Cosgrove cut in from the right wing and forced a good save from the Hillsborough keeper. Half-time 2-1
The Ballymena boys made a quick start to the second half and a Lewis Hector shot hit the post in the opening minute. Owen Campbell was in outstanding form throughout the game and looked comfortable driving forward along the left flank from his defensive role. The remaining Northend defenders, Dylan McLoughlin, David Magill and David McKay were strong in the tackle and unfazed by anything Hillsborough could throw at them; and Sam McDowell had only one difficult save to make in the second half, which he dealt with comfortably. Northend put the game beyond after six minutes when Connor McKenna smashed home a low left foot effort from the edge of the area. The blues were moving the ball across the pitch and the hard work in training paid dividends as the boys looked by far the fitter side. With ten minutes remaining, Kai Barr created a good opening along the right wing and crossed to Connor McKenna who shot narrowly wide. Northend continued to drive forward but couldn't add another goal to their tally. Full -time 3-1
The boys dominated the game from start to finish and set themselves a high bar for the remainder of the season. They moved the ball quickly across the midfield and there was good creativity in attack. The defence looked solid throughout and the boys got a deserved result. Keep it going! The hard work in training is paying off.
Men of the Match -Tyrone Mitchell and Owen Campbell. Both boys were outstanding and were full of energy driving forward time after time and covering so much ground for the team.
Panel: C Wilson, D McLoughlin, O Campbell, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Cosgrove, J McIlhatton, C McKenna, L Hector, S McDowell, K Barr and S Crawford
Northend United 3 Glendowan 2 Saturday 16th September 2017
Northend made a bright start to the game and were ahead in the opening minute when Jack Adams powerfully headed home a Lewis Hector corner. The Ballymena boys were passing the ball quickly and were enjoying the majority of the possession with a good rhythm to their play. Tyrone Mitchell smashed home a twenty five yard free-kick on six minutes to extend Northend's lead and there was a very solid look to the back four of Dylan McLoughlin, David McKay, David Magill and Owen Campbell. The Ballymena boys were dominating the game with Connor McKenna impressing in a central mid-field role and Jack McIlhatton creating problems along the left wing. Jack Adams and Owen Campbell combined well to create an opening for Lewis Hector at the mid- point of the half, before Tyrone Mitchell forced the Glendowan keeper into action from long distance. As half drew to an end, Owen Campbell set Lewis Hector through on goal, the young striker was heavily bundled to the ground and what appeared to be a stonewall penalty was waved on by the referee. Half-time 2-0
Northend again started the half brightly and they were three ahead within minutes of the re-start. Owen Campbell and Jack McIlhatton combined well along the left wing and as the ball was crossed into the box Lewis Hector laid the ball off to Tyrone Mitchell who smashed a shot past the keeper from the edge of the area. Glendowan showed some great character and started to push further forward. Curtis Wilson injured himself when he went to ground to gather the ball but bravely played on for the remainder of the game. With ten minutes gone the Belfast side whipped a free kick towards Northend's far post and as the defence tracked, the ball skimmed off a Northend head and found its way into goal. The Ballymena boys were unfazed by this set back and returned to moving the ball quickly and looking for the space behind the Gendowan defence. Kevin Cosgrove hit the bar with a half-volley on fourteen minutes and then Jack McIlhatton looked to have scored as he dinked the ball around the keeper only to see his effort rebound from the post and roll across the goal to safety. Kai Barr and Sam Crawford worked hard to retain possession, and as the game drew to an end Glendowan scored a consolation goal when another whipped free-kick was bundled over the line. Full-time 3-2
Overall this was a good all-round team performance and the boys will have enjoyed notching up their first win of the season with some excellent football .
Man of the match -Jack Adams had a great game in a holding midfield role, breaking up play and keeping the ball moving across the pitch. His header in the opening minute set the boys on the right track for the remainder of the match.
Panel: C Wilson, D McLoughlin, O Campbell, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Cosgrove, J McIlhatton, C McKenna, L Hector, K Barr and S Crawford.
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Downpatrick 5 Northend United 4 Saturday 9th September 2017
Northend opened their league campaign with a hard working performance against a physically strong Downpatrick side. The opening period of the game was very tight with both teams hungry for possession. The first real opportunity fell to Northend on fourteen minutes when Lewis Hector's pass found Tyrone Mitchell in the box and the midfielder forced a good save from the keeper. Downpatrick used their physical advantage to go ahead moments later with some strong running from midfield. On twenty minutes it was two - nil when Northend tried to play the ball out from the back but unfortunately got caught in possession. The Ballymena boys almost pulled a goal back on twenty-three minutes when Jack Adams met an in-swinging corner and powered a header towards the goal, but was thwarted by a fantastic reaction save from the Downpatrick keeper. With ten minutes remaining, Jack McIlhatton pulled one back for the blues when he received the ball on the edge of the box with his back to goal, but quickly twisted away from his marker and fired a shot into the far side of the goal. The Northend boys were now playing some great football and a smart passing move created space for Kai Barr on the edge of the area and the young midfielder curled a brilliant effort inches over the bar. Half-time 2-1.
Downpatrick started the second half strongly and caught Northend sleeping with two quick goals in the opening eight minutes. The Ballymena boys dug deep and showed a great deal of character to pull themselves back into the game with three goals in a ten minute spell that produced some mesmerising football. Jack McIlhatton burst through on goal following some brilliant one touch passing by Jack Adams and Owen Campbell, and slotted home his second of the game. Five minutes later Tyrone Mitchell smashed home a twenty-five yard free-kick to get his teams' third; and moments later Jack McIlhatton held off his marker and completed his hat-trick with a cool side footed finish. Northend were now storming forward in search of the winner and dominated the final period of the game. Several chances came and went for the blues but they just couldn't find that elusive winner. As the game edged deep into injury time (seven minutes from a thirty-five minute half) Downpatrick launched a final counter attack and as a cross headed into the box their striker palmed the ball down before a team mate scrambled the ball over the line. In the end it was disappointment for the Ballymena side, although the boys all showed a tremendous fighting spirit and deserved at least a point from the game. Full-time 5-4
Everyone played their part in a great team display and there was good debut from new signing Connor McKenna.
Men of the Match: Jack McIlhatton scored a great hat-trick and Dylan McLoughlin had an outstanding game at right back.
Panel: S McDowell, D McLoughlin, O Campbell, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Cosgrove, J McIlhatton, K Barr, L Hector, C Wilson, S Crawford and C McKenna, C Wilson, S Crawford.