Northend United 1 Lisburn Rovers 4 Saturday 12th February 2022
The Macaulay Wray sponsored U15s went into this league game hoping to avenge last week’s Cup Quarter Final exit. As has been the case with two sides this season there was nothing to separate the sides in the first 2 minutes with bot defences solid and the midfield battle worth the entrance fee alone.
The blues created a couple of early chances, but Crooks had his effort well saved and Matchett went close from a free kick. At the other end Stewart produced 2 excellent saves to keep his side in the game. In a crazy last 10 minutes of the half a disputed offside decision saw the Lisburn boys take the lead. Two minutes later a clearance on the edge of the box rebounded off Connon and left the Lisburn striker through on gaol to slot home. A third goal on the stroke of half-time left the blues a mountain to climb in the second half. Half time 0-3
The second half saw the Northend bench cleared in an attempt to add a bit of energy. Switching to a back three allowed Kaczmarek to return to his normal position of striker where his pace caused problems for the Lisburn defence. A host of half chances followed but the final pass was missing on too many occasions. When Lisburn added a fourth the game was over as a contest. The blues battled hard and got a consolation goal from Finnegan. An unsavoury incident saw Lisburn defender Brady get a straight red card but there wasn’t time to take advantage of the extra man. This was a tough physical game where too many of those in blue and white were spectators. Stewart was assured between the posts, McKay, Kaczmarek and Maka showed fight and determination throughout. Special mention to McLaughlin who was composed on the ball and never shirked a challenge in the middle of the park, for the second week in a row a MOTM performance. Full time 1-4
Man of the Match: Diego McLaughlin
Panel: J Stewart, P Finnegan, J Kaczmarek, C Matchett, F McKay, B Stephens, F Connon, F Penney, D McLaughlin, M O’Donnell, R Crooks, L Campbell, O Maka, M McDonnell, J Greer
Northend United 1 Lisburn Rovers 3 Saturday 5th February 2022
The Macaulay Wray sponsored U15s went into this Cup Quarter Final in buoyant mood after a good start to 2022, the Blues pressed straight from the kick-off forcing a corner. A good delivery from O’Donnell fell to Crooks but his first-time effort went narrowly wide. Northend continued to dominate possession as Stephens set Campbell free but as the striker looked certain to score a last-ditch block from Murray averted the danger. Good work involving Maka in the middle of the park set Crooks through on goal but he dragged his effort wide of the target.
Further chances for McIlhatton, Connon and Campbell failed to give the Blues the lead they deserved. With 10 minutes to go to the break the Lisburn Boys were awarded a free kick on the right, a clever chip over the wall found Simpson who held off the challenge of Stephens to fire home across the outstretched Stewart. The Blues kept pushing forward and a superb run from Connon down the right saw him hold off 3 strong challenges and create a final chance of the half for Greer but the Lisburn keeper gathered the effort. Half time 0-1
Despite facing into a stiff breeze for the second half Northend started brightly with Penney forcing a corner in the opening minutes. Crooks, Greer and Finnegan had chances to level. On 50 minutes Crooks was upended yet again as the Lisburn defence struggled to cope with his mazey runs. Kaczmarek stepped up from 30 yards to smash a thunderbolt to the top corner of the net to give the boys a much-deserved equaliser. This was turning in to a tough cup battle with both sides asking questions of the other. With 12 minutes remaining a hopeful free kick was uncharacteristically spilled by Stewart and the Lisburn striker was on-hand to tap home. A 3rd goal on 65 minutes from a set piece killed the game off.
This was a below par performance from the boys with defensive duties outperforming the offensive and too many chances squandered in the opening 20 minutes. Full time 1-3
Panel: J Stewart, P Finnegan, J Kaczmarek, J McIlhatton, F McKay, B Stephens, F Connon, R Crooks, O Maka, M O’Donnell, L Campbell, F Penney, M McDonnell, Greer & D McLaughlin
Northend United 0 Tollymore United 0 Saturday 29th January 2022
The Macaulay Wray sponsored U15s travelled to Moira to play league leaders Tollymore. It looked like weather was going to play havoc with the football but the Blues had other ideas getting off to a flying start with Campbell and Crooks having early chances. A surging run down the left by Stephens set up another opportunity for Crooks who had his effort well saved.
The league leaders were playing second fiddle to the Northend Boys with Stewart more likely to get blown over by storm Malik than having to make a save. The introduction of Greer for the last 10 minutes added a new spark to the attack with the young striker outpacing the Tollymore defence looping a header over the keeper only to see a last-ditch sliding tackle turn the ball away for a corner. Half time 0-0
The second half saw storm Malik pull on the yellow of the league leaders though for them he failed to shine. Northend went close straight from the kick-off as good work by Maka set Crooks free but again the keeper was up to the challenge. Further chances for O’Donnell, Stephens and McLaughlin were somehow cleared by backs to the wall defending form the league leaders. With 5 minutes to go a long hopeful ball cleared the Blues defence leaving the striker through on goal but Kaczmarek was on hand to block the effort on the goal line before Stewart picked up the loose ball.
This was an outstanding display from the Northend lads who worked tirelessly for the 70 minutes and really deserved more than a point from the game. The back four of Finnegan, McIlhatton, Kaczmarek & McKay were solid throughout. The midfield of Stephens, Crooks, Maka, Connon & O’Donnell were up for the physical battle whilst playing some fine football. Up top Campbell & Greer both put in a big shift as lone strikers whilst McLaughlin added a touch of class in the middle of the park in the second half. Special mention to striker Kaczmarek who as a stand in centre half was the best player on the park. Full time 0-0
Panel: J Stewart, P Finnegan, J Kaczmarek, C McIlhatton, F McKay, B Stephens, F Connon, R Crooks, O Maka, M O’Donnell, L Campbell, J Greer, D McLaughlin
Northend United 1 Chimney Corner 4 Saturday 22nd January 2022
The Macaulay Wray sponsored U15s good start to 2022 came to an end with a flat performance against a well organised Corner outfit. For the first 30 minutes there was little between the sides with Kaczmarek and Crooks having the best of the chances for the Blues. With 5 minutes left in the half a long ball eluded the Blues defence and striker Kelly was first to the loose ball to slide home from close range. Half time 0-1
In the early exchanges of the second half Crooks went close with a free kick. The usually reliable centre-half pairing in the blues defence looked out of sorts as hesitancy led to Kelly doubling his tally with a fine finish. With 15 minutes gone Kelly outpaced McIlhatton and despite Stewart getting a hand to the shot the big striker completed his hat-trick. With 18 minutes remaining the Corner striker grabbed his fourth though there was a big call on an offside for the provider. The Blues kept plugging away and pulled one back when Penney’s persistence and strong running down the left him in space inside the box to fire home his first goal for the Blues. A bright spell saw McDonnell thunder a header off the bar, O’Donnell blast over from 5 yards when it looked easier to score and Crooks draw a fine save from Reid.
A disappointing display from the Blues who struggled to get the energy into their game that they had shown in previous weeks. Full time 1-4
Panel: J Stewart, P Finnegan, C Matchett, C McIlhatton, F McKay, F Connon, R Crooks, C Maguire, M O’Donnell, L Campbell J Kaczmarek, F Penney, M McDonnell, B Stephens
Lower Maze 1 Northend United 6 Saturday 15th January 2022
The Macaulay Wray sponsored 07s continued their fine start to 2022 making it back-to-back wins with a comprehensive victory over Lower Maze at Wallace Park on Saturday. The blues once again set the tone as Crooks scored the opener after 4 minutes. On 10 minutes the lead was doubled as Campbell fired home form inside the box. Lower Maze lifted their game in a ten-minute spell where they pulled a goal back and pushed hard for an equaliser but found the blues back four in solid form. Northend regained their composure and dominated the closing stages of the first half adding further goals from Crooks and Connon. Half time 1-4
The second half opened brightly with Northend playing some fine football, another goal from Campbell and the on-fire Crooks killed the game off as a contest. Before the substitution merry-go-round commenced both Campbell and Crooks completed their hat-tricks the latter landing his second in as many games. Centre-half McIlhatton also popped up in the box to finish from close range.
This was another solid squad performance, special mention to O’Donnell who tormented the Lower Maze defence with his driving runs, Campbell for his 3 well-taken goals and goal machine Crooks bringing his tally to 6 in two games. Full time 1-6
Panel: J Stewart, P Finnegan, C Matchett, J McIlhatton, F McKay, F Connon, R Crooks, C Maguire, M O’Donnell, L Campbell, F Penny, R Stephens, D McLaughlin, O Maka, J Greer
Northend United 6 Hillsborough Boys 0 Saturday 8th January 2022
The Macaulay Wray sponsored U15s kicked off 2022 with a resounding victory over Hillsborough Boys. Straight from the kick-off Hillsborough were on the back foot with Campbell, Kaczmarek and Crooks all having early chances. On 7 minutes Charlie McIlhatton rose superbly to head home from a corner. Two minutes later Robert Crooks slotted home from close range. The Blues dominance continued with Luke Campbell adding a 3rd and Crooks adding two more to complete a first half hat-trick. Half time 5-0
This second half was a good opportunity to utilise the squad with all 5 subs getting valuable game time including January signing Finn Penney. Chances continued to flow with Crooks grabbing his fourth and Oliwer Maka also scoring to top off a fine second half performance.
This was an excellent start to the year, the back four of Finnegan, McIlhatton, Matchett & McKay were solid throughout. New centre pairing of Crooks & Connon controlled the midfield assisted by Maguire who looked back to her best. Campbell and Kaczmarek worked tirelessly up top. There were also excellent second half performances from Maka, McLaughlin and Greer with Penney having a promising start to his career with the Blues. Full time 6-0
Panel: J Stewart, P Finnegan, C Matchett, J McIlhatton, F McKay, F Connon, R Crooks, C Maguire, M O’Donnell, L Campbell, J Kaczmarek, J Greer, D McLaughlin, O Maka, J Magill, F Penney