Banbridge Town 5 Northend United 1 Saturday 23rd February 2019
Northend knew that a victory would help to overtake Banbridge into 5th place, however the Blues squad were hit hard by a virus on Friday evening which left only 11 players available for this fixture. Northend started the game at a good pace and stretched Banbridge in the early stages of the game. The Ballymena side went close on twelve mites when Paul O'Boyle drove a shot across the goal and narrowly wide of the far post. The blues defence were solid throughout the half and David McKay was working hard in a central midfield role. Banbridge tested Sam McDowell with a long range shot towards the end of the half, but the Northend keeper was assured in his handling. Half-time 0-0
The game was finely poised, and the first goal was always going to be important. Several of the Northend players were a little under the weather at half-time and Banbridge capitalised by taking the lead after four minutes of the re-start. The Blues lost their shape for a period and paid a heavy price as Banbridge added three further goals in the next ten minutes. A few Northend players were clearly struggling, however the Blues pulled a goal back at the mid-point of the half when Tyrone Mitchell slipped a pass through to Owen Campbell who finished the move off from close range. The same two players combined moments later, on this occasion Owen Campbell was pulled down on the edge of the area as he rounded the keeper with an open goal, however the referee awarded a free kick with no further action being taken. Northend continued to play good football, but as the game went on the boys just didn't have the energy to drag themselves back into it. Full-time 1-5
The depleted squad gave everything in this game and just couldn't reproduce the level of performance from the previous weekend.
Man of the Match: Team effort.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLoughlin, J Adams, D Magill, P O'Boyle, T Mitchell, C McKenna, O Campbell, D McKay, S Crawford
Hillsborough Boys 2 Northend United 1 Saturday 16th February 2019
The blues were playing in the cup this week against league leaders Hillsborough Youth. Both teams served up a highly competitive game with only the finest of margins separating the sides at the final whistle. Northend started the game brightly and were resolute in defence with Curtis Wilson, David Magill, Jack Adams and Dylan McLoughlin all looking in top form. In a half of very few chances, Hillsborough forced a good one handed save from Sam McDowell around the ten-minute mark and the subsequent corner was dealt with comfortably by the Northend keeper. Paul O'Boyle was making his debut in midfield for Northend and had a very solid game along the left flank. Northend started to dominate the game by the mid-point of the half and took the lead on twenty minutes with a contender for goal of the season. Tyron Mitchell, Connor McKenna and Kai Barr linked together a series of one-touch passes that ripped open the Hillsborough defence and Owen Campbell smashed a first-time effort in off the underside of the cross bar with his left foot. Northend were playing some great football at this point and almost doubled their lead when Lewis Hector outpaced his marker to fire a shot narrowly over the bar. Half-time 1-0
The pace didn't drop in the second half and Northend were quickly into their stride with a good period of possession. Hillsborough pulled themselves back into the game at the mid-point of the half when a defender rose to meet a high swirling corner and directed his heard into the far side of the goal. Northend responded well and almost regained the lead when Sam Crawford released Owen Campbell for a run through on goal, the young striker shrugged off his marker and the keeper produced an excellent save to direct the shot wide of the goal. With eight minutes remaining Hillsborough went two up when the referee overturned the linesman to award the reds a throw in. Northend were caught out of possession and conceded a second goal. The blues again drove forward, and Tyrone Mitchell was denied by a last-ditch tackle when well placed, Callum McCann then went close with a good piece of play along the right wing. Full-time 1-2
Northend's players deserved a lot more from the game and produced a great performance against a very good Hillsborough side, and if the blues can sustain this form until the end of the season a top five finish is still within their grasp.
Man of the Match: Every player put in a tremendous effort.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLoughlin, J Adams, D Magill, P O'Boyle, T Mitchell, C McKenna, O Campbell, L Hector, K Barr, S Crawford and Callum McCann
Northend United 0 Lisburn Youth 4 Saturday 26th January 2019
This week Northend were against the league's second placed side and last season's double winners Lisburn Youth. The blues started the game brightly and almost took the lead on four minutes when David McKay got on the end of Tyrone Mitchell's free-kick, only to see his shot skim off the cross bar. Northend were playing some really good football and looked very strong in defence where Curtis Wilson, Dylan McLoughlin, Jack Adams and David Magill were all in good form. In game of very few chances, it was Northend who again went close on sixteen minutes when David McKay created some room in the box and tested the keeper with a well struck shot. Towards the end of the half both sides had a player involved in an off the ball incident in which both should have received a caution, however it was Northend who were reduced to ten men. In the final seconds of the half, Owen Campbell intercepted a pass and after rounding the keeper, hit the upright with a shot from a tight angle. Half-time 0-0
The Ballymena boys displayed a great team spirit and dug deep to match the work rate of their opponents. Lisburn were still unable to break down the Northend defence; and Kai Barr, Tyrone Mitchell and Lewis Hector were retaining possession for their side as the blues looked to stretch their opponents on the counterattack. Sam McDowell was called into action on the ten-minute mark with an excellent reaction save from close range and the Northend's resilience was beyond doubt as they work hard in every area of the pitch. Lisburn broke the deadlock on twenty minutes when a Northend clearance deflected off their own player and squirmed its way over the line. The blues again dug deep and contested every ball, however as the game entered the final five minutes Lisburn scored their second of the game and added two more within the final minutes as Northend simply ran out of steam after a very hard working 'team' performance. Full-time 0-4
Northend's players and coaches would like to wishes for a speedy recovery to the Lisburn Youth player who sustained a broken ankle during the game.
Man of the Match: Every player put in a tremendous effort, especially after being reduced to ten men in the latter part of the first half.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLoughlin, J Adams, D Magill, S Crawford, T Mitchell, D McKay, O Campbell, L Hector, K Barr, Conn McCann and Callum McCann.
Warrenpoint Town 5 Northend United 1 Saturday 12th january 2019
Northend's recent victory over the Irish League Academy side put them in a confident mood going into this game and the opening twenty minutes were a cagey and at times a very physical affair, with neither side shirking from a challenge. Warrenpoint had clearly been busy in the January transfer window with at least four new players to the earlier fixture. It was Warrenpoint who broke the deadlock on twenty-two minutes when they scrambled the ball clear from a Northend corner and then clinically hit the Ballymena side on the counter attack. Northend responded well and a through ball from Connor McKenna sent Owen Campbell in on goal to test the keeper. With five minutes of the half remaining Warrenpoint scored their second from a well worked corner, although the killer goal came on the stroke of half time when another swift counter attack grabbed an all-important third for the title challengers. Half time 0-3
Northend continued to play some good football and had the upper-hand for the opening ten minutes of the second half as they stretched the Warrenpoint defence on several occasions and forced their keeper into action on at least two occasions during that period, and it was completely against the run of play when Warrenpoint scored their fourth after fifteen minutes. The Ballymena boys responded well, Tyrone Mitchell's bursting run and cool finish gave Northend a lifeline and the boys were unlucky to have an Owen Campbell goal disallowed moments later. The blues continued test their opponents in the final stages of the game. Warrenpoint added a fifth minutes before the final whistle to put a rather unfair gloss on a game that was much closer than the score-line suggested; and the coaches received some great feedback from the match official on just how competitive this fixture had been. Full-time 1-5
Man of the Match: Tyrone Mitchell - a strong performance in the centre of the pitch - full of running and a well-deserved goal.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, S Crawford, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, T Mitchell, Callum McCann, O Campbell, L Hector, K Barr, David McKay, Conn McCann, and D McLaughlin
...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Northend United 0 Windmill Stars 5 Saturday 5th January 2019
The Ballymena boys paid a heavy price for a lethargic start to the game when they simply didn't match their opponents in terms of effort. The visitors took the lead on ten minutes when Northend won the initial aerial battle from a corner but were slow to react to the second ball. Three further goals came over the next fifteen minutes and the visitors were good value for their lead at that point. The Blues finally got their act together towards the end of the half and almost pulled a goal back from Lewis Hector corner when David Magill effort on gaol was cleared off the line. Owen Campbell and Kai Barr each had shots which tested the keeper and the Ballymena boys started to look to reclaim a foothold in the game. Half-time 0-4
Northend looked a different side in the second half and were clearly more intent on trying to get something from the game. It was Windmill though who dealt a killer blow against the run of play on ten minutes to make it five nil. In fairness to Northend they played with much more purpose and stuck to their game. In a ten minutes spell in the second half the Blues created six clear opportunities and on another day this would have been enough to have brought them back into the game. Full-time 0-5
A very sore lesson for Northend today - but one which highlighted the need to be more consistent in their approach from the start of the game.
Man of the Match: Connor McKenna.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, O Campbell, T Mitchell, Callum McCann, L Hector, K Barr, Conn McCann, Curtis Wilson, David McKay