Loughgall 1 Northend United 3 Cup Final Saturday 5th May 2018
Northend went into the cup final full of determination, ready for a tough game against a Loughgall side that has provided their sternest tests all season. Northend showed this determination from the off, with the defence and midfield breaking down all of Loughgall's good play, and keeper Sam McDowell, stepping up from the u14s, proving tough to beat. In the attack, Matty Las had chances to get an early lead, but his shots just went wide of the goal.
Northend began to take the game to Loughgall, with Ciaran Martin and Ben O'Boyle stretching the Mid-Ulster side's defence. In midfield, Pearse Esler and Christy McKillop were starting to pull the strings for Northend.
Northend's pressure paid dividends as they got their reward though, with Christy McKillop cutting in from the right-hand side and hitting a lovely curler on his left to give the Loughgall keeper no chance and the Blues the lead. Matty Las then got the goal his effort deserved, with a beautiful lob over the Loughgall keeper that gave the Blues a 2-goal cushion. Just before half-time, a mix up between goalkeeper and full back allowed Loughgall through and they scored with a neat finish. Northend came off at half-time with their heads held high though, knowing they had done well, but still had work to do. Half time 1-2
The hot weather played a factor on the boys at the start of the 2nd half, which allowed Loughgall to press forward. Even with this, they couldn't break down the Northend defence, with Reuben Shirley providing great defensive work on his flank and Joel Telford offering great cover just in front of the Blues defence. Ten minutes into the 2nd half, Dylan King, who was revelling in his more advanced midfield role, played a great ball forward to Las, who shot in to the side net, when perhaps a pass would have been the better option. Pearce Esler was again inspirational in his second-half performance and was instrumental in all that was good with Northend's performance.
As play flowed from end to end, Northend dug deep to maintain their lead. Northend introduced Owen McGregor and Cameron Young to give them fresh legs in the blistering heat, but it was Jamie Montgomery who secured the win for Northend when he got the goal of the game, a brilliant strike on the half volley right in to the top corner of the net.
Loughgall threw everything at Northend, and Connor McAuley, who gave a man of the match performance for his marshalling of the Blues defence, was outstanding during this period. With a wide shot from Loughgall, the referee blew the full-time whistle, leading to fantastic celebrations from the Northend lads. They kept their best performance of the season for this game and thoroughly deserved the trophy. Full time 1-3
Northend would like to thank everyone involved with the Lisburn Junior league for their hard work throughout this season.
Man of the Match: Connor McAuley
Panel: S McDowell, R Shirley, D King, C McAuley, J Telford, C McKillop, P Esler, M Las, C Martin, J Montgomery, B O'Boyle, C Young, O McGregor
Loughgall 1 Northend United 0 Saturday 14th april 2018
Northend went into this game knowing anything less than a win, would probably hand the League title to Loughgall. The Blues were slow to start this match but it wasn't long before Pearse Esler should have given them the lead when a great throughball left him with only the goalie to beat but his shot went narrowly wide.
Although still not at their best, Northend continued to create chances with Mateusz Las and Jamie Montgomery going close on a couple of occasions. At the other end of the pitch Connor McAuley and Dylan King in defence were equal to anything Loughgall could throw at them, while Caleb Gibson, in the Northend nets, was seldom troubled. Half time 0-0
Into the second half, Northend played some of their best football of the season, with McKillop, Esler, Montgomery and Martin linking up well in midfield, being driven on by influential captain Joel Telford.
However midway through the half in a rare Loughgall attack, their striker gave Gibson no chance in nets when he was left with a free shot on goal.
Northend came storming back and with substitutes Ruben Shirley and Owen McAuley giving them extra pace, it looked like they might get back in the game. However, some resolute defending from Loughgall saw them hold out to the end of the game, to give them an harsh 1-0 scoreline. Full time 1-0
Panel: C Gibson, O McGregor, D King, C McAuley, J Telford, C McKillop, P Esler, J Montgomery, M Las, C Martin, O McAuley, R Shirley
Lisburn Distillery 0 Northend United 6 Wednesday 11th April 2018
After two painful defeats, the lads approached the game against Lisburn Distillery with the sole intention of coming away with all 3 points. And they went the right way about it, with Mateusz Laz slotting in comfortably in the opening minutes when clean through on goal. Montgomery nearly doubled the lead with a beautiful strike that hit the crossbar and just failed to drop behind the goal line. With the wind in Northend's sails, the Blues peppered the goal, and when played through on the right-hand side, Owen McCauley went in and delivered a beautifully chipped goal from 20 yards to make it 2-0. Shortly before the end of the half, Jamie Montgomery got the goal his play deserved with a towering header landing perfectly in the top corner. Half time 0-3
Northend continued to attack and press up high which allowed for many more opportunities on goal. Mateusz went straight in on goal again and slotted comfortably into the bottom right left corner. Sadly, in the build-up, a Distillery player suffered a nasty injury. This brief break of play didn't stop the boys, with Reuben Shirley scoring a cracking long shot from 25 yards and Ciaran Martin rounding the keeper late on to add gloss on a fantastic scoreline. A fantastic result for the young lads and the perfect momentum to see them through to the end of the season. Full time 0-6
All at Northend sent their best wishes to the young Distillery defender who picked up a serious shoulder injury for the second time this season against us. Speedy recovery!
Men of the Match: Christy McKillop, Jamie Montgomery
Panel: C Gibson, O McGregor, D King, J Telford, P Esler, C McKillop, J Montgomery, M Las, C Martin, O McAuley, C Young, R Shirley
Lower Maze 3 Northend United 1 Saturday 24th March 2018
Northend's game against Lower Maze started off at a slow and broken pace, with neither team really putting their mark on the game. Halfway through, Mateusz Laz managed to go in one on one, but his shot went agonisingly wide. The same player provided an outlet down the Northend left wing and his cross reached Christy McKillop in the penalty box but a great save from the Lower Maze keeper kept the scores level in the game. Several chances came and went, with Northend having the better of play, but not managing to put a mark on the match at this point. Half time 0-0
Northend started the second half sluggishly, and moments later conceded a soft goal to Maze. This was quickly followed by a second, with Northend failing to clear their lines. Northend keeper Caleb Gibson did everything in his power to keep the squad in the game, even after taking a nasty knock to the leg. Northend then began to push in the second half, with both Mateusz Laz and Dylan King having opportunities but failing to put them in the back of the net. Maze was then awarded a debatable penalty, which was dispatched, leaving Gibson no chance. Northend were then awarded an equally dubious penalty and Christie McKillop planted it in the back of the net. Mateusz Laz then had a great opportunity at the end, but hit his shot against the keeper when a square ball may have been a better option to the advancing McKillop. Northend's unbeaten run comes to an end, but this presents a great opportunity for the team to show what they are made of in the next game, and how they can bounce back. Full time 3-1
Panel: C Gibson, B O'Boyle, D King, C McAuley, O McGregor, J Telford, C McKillop, J Montgomery, M Las, C Martin, R Shirley, C Young, P Moorhead
Northend United 4 Lisburn Distillery 1 Saturday 10th March 2018
In awful conditions, Northend played a feisty encounter against Lisburn Distillery where a strong performance was needed to maintain the U15s five game unbeaten run. The early signs were promising from the lads, and after 10 minutes, Mateusz Las finished clinically into the bottom left corner. Mateusz Las nearly doubled are lead with a fantastic long distance shot which at the last minute, curled in to the post. The weather made the game much trickier than anticipated on both sides, which showed in Northend's second goal. Distillery's keeper miss-kicked the ball which allowed Ciaran Martin to slot calmly in to the empty net. Half time 2-0
The harsh weather and tough tackling continued in the second half, and Distillery took advantage with a lovely looping shot that was placed in the top of the net, but the Northend boys didn't let the loss of the clean sheet get to them. With a brilliant corner hit in by Dylan King, Connor McAuley jumped the highest to make the score 3-1. Dylan King then repeated the action, and the ball placed nicely for Simon Penny to score, on his return from a winter break. The game continued to be competitively played until the last minute, but the Northend held on for a great win that continues their recent run of good results. Full time 4-1
Man of the Match: Mateusz Las
Panel: C Gibson, B O'Boyle, D King, C McAuley, O McGregor, C McKillop, C Martin, J Montgomery, M Las, J Telford, S Penny, P Moorhead
Lower Maze 0 Northend United 2 Saturday 24th February 2018
Northend travelled for the encounter with Lower Maze looking to get revenge on a recent cup defeat. The first half was played at a steady pace but with neither side really creating chances. Maze knocked a few shots across the Northend area but nothing to really trouble Caleb Gibson in the Blues nets. Mateusz Las provided some inspiration up top for Northend but failed to make the play count. Half time 0-0
Northend came out fighting in the second half, and were rewarded a few minutes in, when following some play from Christie McKillop, Jamie Montgomery hit a cracking shot on his right, giving Northend the lead.
A few minutes later, there was madness in the Lower Maze penalty box as pinball football started to be played, culminating in Connor McAuley miss-hitting a shot which was eventually cleared by the Lower Maze defence.
Connor McAuley then tried to make amends for his earlier miss, with a lovely free kick that Northend failed to capitalise on. All the play was camped inside the Lower Maze half, with Northend stroking the ball around, and the Blues went on to make their superiority count when Christie McKillop rifled in the second of the match, and his 2nd in two games. Northend saw the game out, extending their undefeated run to 5 games and showing a much-improved performance compared to when they last played Lower Maze. Full time 0-2
Man of the Match: Christie McKillop
Panel: C Gibson, R Shirley, D King, C McAuley, O McGregor, J Telford, C McKillop, J Montgomery, M Las, C Martin, B O'Boyle, P Esler
Loughgall 1 Northend United 2 Saturday 17th February 2018
Northend faced off against their league rivals Loughgall in a tense and tight match on Saturday. The U15s had the brighter of the opening 20 minutes, with the midfield three of Pierce Esler, Christie McKillop and Ciaran Martin causing panic for the Loughgall defence. For all their dominance, Northend couldn't create a clear goal scoring opportunity. The game changed when Christie McKillop found space on the edge of the Loughgall box and hit a thunderous shot over the Loughgall keeper, giving Northend the lead. The U15s then missed a clear chance when, from a corner, the ball skidded across the 6-yard area, begging for a touch in to the goal, which failed to materialise. Half time 0-1
Northend came out at halftime settled on their lead, allowing Loughgall to put pressure on the Blues defence. Loughgall got their reward 10 minutes into the half with a simple tap in after a defensive mix-up. The game became very scrappy after that, with neither team performing at their best. Northend had what looked like a clear penalty call for a push on striker Jamie Montgomery denied by the referee, which seemed to spur them on. With some great play in the final third from Pierce Esler, Jamie Montgomery was set up to slot the ball in to give Northend a 2-1 lead. The game continued to flow from end to end afterwards as Northend allowed pressure to mount. Loughgall failed to capitalise this time and Northend held on for the 3 points. Full time 1-2
Special mention to Rueben Shirley for standing in as goalkeeper today minutes before kick-off
Panel: R Shirley, D King, C Young, C McAuley, O McGregor, J Telford, C McKillop, P Esler, M Las, C Martin, J Montgomery, B O'Boyle, O McAuley
Lisburn Distillery 1 Northend United 2 Cup Semi-Final Saturday 3rd February 2018
Northend came in to the game high on confidence after 2 great results in the League. Distillery proved a very different test from the last time the U'15 played them. The opening half had very few chances for both teams, with Mateusz Las and Ciaran Martin having the only chances for Northend, both missing good chances. Half time: 0-0
Northend came out in the second half slow off the pace, with the game getting bogged down in midfield. It was going to be something special to break the deadlock and it came courtesy of a Northend defensive error. A moment of madness led to a mix-up between centre back and keeper, allowing Distillery to open the scoring with a simple tap-in.
This was the wake-up call Northend needed, with Mateusz Las missing two glorious opportunities, after Pearse Esler being prominent in both occasions. However, with Northend having the majority of play, an equaliser looked inevitable and Pierce Esler again made some great play down the left wing to set up Mateusz Las to equalise. The same player could have given Northend the lead within minutes but saw his well struck effort cannon off the Distillery upright and clear to safety. Northend pushed for the winner and got their reward from an unexpected source, with Dylan King smashing it high and over the keeper from 25 yards and in to the back of the net. Distillery fought hard to take the game to extra time, with Connor McAuley clearing the ball off the Blues goal line from a Distillery corner and Caleb Gibson pulling off a wonder save in nets to keep Northend ahead in this game. Northend held on for a hard thought win and a place in their first final. All credit to Distillery for making this an open and attacking game. Full time: 1-2
Man of the Match: Caleb Gibson
Panel: C Gibson, D King, C McAuley, C Young, O McGregor, C McKillop, J Montgomery, P Esler, M Las, C Martin, R Shirley, B O'Boyle
Northend United 2 Loughgall 2Saturday 27th January 2018
Northend went in to the game high on confidence after a resounding win in their last game, and it showed in the opening 15minutes with the Blues having the majority of the play. Shortly before the end of the half, a Matty Las header from a Dylan King corner went painfully over the bar by the smallest of margins. Northend went into the half with the wind in their sails, and the wind in their backs for the second half. Half time 0-0
The second half had much more going on for both sides, but Northend took too long in the game to adapt to the conditions. Loughgall took a quick 2 goal lead, though this was down more to the opposition's good play then Northend's failings. With 15 minutes left of the game, Northend pushed hard to make the game a contest, with the defence providing a solid rock and setting up the plays. Matty Las provided the catalyst by scoring with a cheeky toe poke past the advancing keeper. The on-form striker then added a second with five minutes left of play, slotting the ball in to the left corner of the net. Northend's fatigue started to show towards the end but their discipline and determination helped collect a valuable point. Full time 2-2
Panel: C Gibson, D King, C McAuley, C Young, O McGregor, J Telford, P Esler, B O'Boyle, M Las, C McKillop, R Shirley, O McAuley
Lisburn Distillery 1 Northend United 5 Saturday 13th December 2017
The U15s began 2018 in fine fashion with a top performance over Lisburn Distillery. The game started with Distillery on the from foot and Cameron Young had to make a timely clearance in the opening minutes. However, it wasn't long before Northend got back in the game and Mateusz Las went close with a shot across the face of the Distillery goal, before the same player gave the Blues a deserved opening goal on ten minutes when from a Jamie Montgomery throughball, he slipped the ball past the Distillery keeper and into the net.
Northend's attacking midfield of Pearse Esler, Jamie Montgomery and Ciaran Martin were starting to move the ball well and close down their opponents when required. Northend doubled their lead on twenty minutes when Pearse Esler found himself in space and chipped the ball past the advancing Distillery keeper.
The Blues midfield now stopped working and encouraged Distillery to get back in the game. However, both Joel Telford and Owen McGregor in the holding positions, kept Distillery at bay with some timely interventions. Dylan King gave the Blues some width with a number of foraying runs down the Blues wing.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Distillery pulled a goal back when a shot from their striker squirmed under Northend keeper, Caleb Gibson, and ended up in the net. Half time 1-2
Ben O'Boyle was introduced at half time as Northend went looking for all the points in this match. Again, Joel Telford and Owen McGregor were giving the Northend defence some good cover and Jamie Montgomery was pulling the strings in midfield.
Mateusz Las was giving the Distillery defence no time at all on the ball and from an O'Boyle through ball, he grabbed his second goal of the match when he fired the ball over the Distillery keeper's head from all of twenty-five yards. This goal proved to lift Northend and it wasn't long before Northend added a fourth goal, when Las scored from a Northend corner, for his third goal of the game.
Northend were in top form now and playing some of their best football of the season. Mateusz Las scored his fourth and Northend's fifth goal, when he outpaced the Distillery defence and planted the ball in the back of the Distillery net. A Distillery defender sustained a serious injury trying to tackle Mateusz and all at Northend send their best wishes to the young Distillery defender. Final score 1-5
Man of the Match: Mateusz Las
Panel: C Gibson, C Young, D King, C McAuley, O McGregor, J Telford, J Montgomery, P Esler, M Las, C Martin, B O'Boyle, R Shirley, O McAuley, A Pescaru