Northend United 1 Lower Maze 4 Supp Cup Semi-Final Wednesday 20th December 2017
Northend were up against Lower Maze in the Supplementary Cup Semi-final on Wednesday night under lights at the Crumlin Leisure Centre. Northend started this match on the front foot, taking early control of the midfield area, with Joel Telford, Pearse Esler and Jamie Montgomery in commanding form.
Northend were making good use of the big Crumlin pitch and both Ben O'Boyle and Ciaran Martin were putting in a full shift on both wings, supporting the Northend defence and providing overlapping capability in attack.
When Lower Maze did break on the counterattack, they found Caleb Gibson in commanding form in Northend's nets.
Northend took the lead after twenty-five minutes when an excellent throughball from Montgomery found Mateusz Las, who had outpaced his marker and when he crossed the ball into the Lower Maze box, Pearse Esler was on hand to drill the ball past the Lower Maze keeper.
Northend should have further increased their lead in the first half but chances went a begging. Half time score 1-0
Into the second half and with the Northend boys looking composed on the ball, it wasn't looking like Lower Maze could get back in the game. In this half, the Northend defence of Owen McGregor, Dylan King and Connor McAuley were soaking up with whatever Lower Maze could throw at them, with McAuley in particular looking very impressive in the sweeper role.
Mateusz Las was stretching the Lower Maze defence all over the place with his explosive pace as play began to get bogged down in midfield. With fifteen minutes of the match remaining, Lower Maze got their equaliser when a free-kick was deflected off a Northend defender, giving Caleb Gibson no chance in the Northend nets. Northend introduced Cameron Young, Ruben Shirley and Owen McAuley to try to get the Blues back in the game.
As it was looking like extra time in the match, Lower Maze snatched the game away from Northend with another two free-kicks finding the back of the Northend net in the space of five minutes. Lower Maze added a fourth goal with almost the last kick of the game, as Northend heads were down, to record a scoreline which didn't reflect the balance of play. Final score 1-4
Although the score doesn't reflect it, this was a top performance from the Northend boys, who didn't capitalise on their first half dominance.
Men of the Match: Connor McAuley, Joel Telford
Panel: C Gibson, O McGregor, D King, C McAuley, J Telford, P Esler, J Montgomery, M Las, B O'Boyle, C Martin, E McAuley, C Young, R Shirley
Banbridge Town 5 Northend United 0 Saturday 2nd December 2017
This was a completely different performance from last week, when a totally blow par display saw the Blues trailing 4-0 at half time. Northend were second to the ball in the first half and found themselves 1-0 down after five minutes when a corner wasn't properly cleared. Banbridge went 2 up midway through the half when confusion in the Northend defence allowed them to score. A good break from defence found Dylan King breaking through the Banbridge midfield and when he slipped the ball to Ciaran Martin, his shot brought out a good save from the Banbridge keeper. From the resultant corner, Banbridge cleared the ball off their line, when Northend should really have scored, Then, in a crazy five-minute spell before the end of the first half, Banbridge scored two soft goals to effectively kill of the Northend fightback. Half time 4-0
Into the second half and with Joel Telford in top form in the Blues midfield, Northend looked a different team. However, try as they might, they couldn't find a way past the Banbridge defence, although Mateusz Las was stretching their defence at times. Banbridge scored a fifth goal ten minutes before the end of the game. Final score 5-0
Man of the Match: Joel Telford
Panel: C Gibson, O McGregor, D King, C McAuley, J Telford, P Esler, J Montgomery, M Las, R Shirley, C Martin, B O'Boyle, C Young
Linfield 8 Northend United 0 NIBFA Cup 2nd Round Saturday 25th November 2017
The ever improving Northend U15s travelled this week to play Irish league Academy side Linfield in the NIBFA Cup. The game started with Northend on the back foot and Linfield attacking down their wings. To their credit, the Northend defence of McGregor, King and McAuley stood their ground and dealt comfortably with whatever Linfield could throw at them. However, on ten minutes, Linfield made the breakthrough, scoring on the rebound following a good save from the Northend keeper.
Northend were beginning to find their feet in the game, with the midfield trio of Joel Telford, Pearse Esler and Jamie Montgomery, beginning to claw their way into the game, ably supported by Mateusz Las in the lone striking role. On fifteen minutes, Esler should really have pulled Northend level, when following good exchange play with Mateusz Las, he found himself with only the Linfield keeper to beat but his shot went into the side-netting. Northend were enjoying their best spell in the game, midway through the half, with some hard-working displays from Simon Penny and Ciaran Martin on the wings.
Linfield doubled their lead on twenty minutes when a ball across the face of Northend's box wasn't dealt with, allowing their striker to score from close range. Just before half time, Linfield scored a third goal, leaving Northend an uphill task in the second half. Half time 3-0
Into the second half and Linfield started the stronger and caught Northend cold in the opening ten minutes, running in two more goals. To their credit, Northend kept plugging away with Conor McAuley in top form in the Northend rearguard. Linfield scored the goal of the game midway through the half, with a thunderous strike finding the top corner of Northend's net. With fifteen minutes remaining, Ruben Shirley and Cameron Young replaced Penny and Martin, who had given everything and were running out of steam.
With Linfield giving their large squad a good run-out, a tired Northend conceded two goals in the last few minutes of the game. Full time 8-0
This was a much-improved team performance from Northend, with special mention this week to Simon Penny and Ciaran Martin who both had their best matches of the season.
Panel: C Gibson, O McGregor, D King, C McAuley, J Telford, P Esler, J Montgomery, C Martin, S Penny, M Las, C Young, R Shirley
Northend United 0 Annagh United 5 Saturday 18th November 2017
The scoreline certainly doesn't reflect how this match actually went, with a really improved Blues performance having their opponents on the back foot for long periods of this game.
The match started off with Northend playing some really good passing football with Joel Telford, Pearse Esler and Jamie Montgomery dominating the midfield play and Mateusz Las always looking dangerous in his striking role.
However, it wasn't all one-way football with the Northend defence of King, McGregor and McAuley looking comfortable on the ball when troubled with their Annagh counterparts.
Against the run of play, Northend conceded a goal with seven minutes of the half remaining when the striker was given to much room at the back post and was able to plant the ball past a helpless Caleb Gibson in the Blues nets. This was a cruel blow for Northend and the shell-shocked Blues went on to concede another goal from a very dubious penalty kick decision, with a minute until half time. Half time 0-2
Into the second half, the Blues again started strongly and Mateusz Las could have pulled a goal back for the Blues, when he outpaced two defenders and cut inside to shoot, only to see the Annagh keeper pull off a game changing save. Northend weren't finished with the chances and Jamie Montgomery was unlucky to see his well-drilled shot just go over the Annagh crossbar, following a King corner.
However, the Blues went on to concede two further goals midway through the half when their lack of height was exposed, firstly from an Annagh corner and secondly from a shot from the edge of the Northend box.
Even at 4 goals down, the Blues never gave up and with Ogilvie, Young and Shirley all introduced to the field of play, Northend thought they had pulled a goal back, when Esler saw his ferocious drive graze the crossbar.
Northend conceded their fifth goal, again from another very dubious penalty for handball, before Las had the last chance in the game when his shot sailed into the side-netting. Full time 0-5
This was a much-improved performance from Northend with McGregor, McAuley, Esler and Montgomery all having particularly good games.
Panel: C Gibson, O McGregor, D King, C McAuley, J Telford, P Esler, J Montgomery, M Las, C Martin, S Penny, R Shirley, C Young, B Ogilvie
Northend United 0 Loughgall 5 Saturday 11th November 2017
Northend started this game very slow and were caught out on several occasions. It was a bad defensive error after 15 minutes which gifted Loughgall the lead. Still Loughgall went for it and another piece of slack play lead to their second. Loughgall came close again after a midfield error this time. Near the end of the first half Pearse Esler rattled the cross bar from a McAuley corner but another piece of really slack defending and Northend were 3 down almost on half time. Half time 0-3
The second half started much the same as the first half ended with Loughgall coming close on a few occasions but the inform Caleb Gibson made some outstanding saves. Mateusz Las should have pulled one back but his effort was of target. Loughgall kept up the good work and were rewarded with another 2 goals. It wasn't until the last 10 minutes when Northend started to play some good football but by this time it was too late Full time 0-5
Men of the Match: Pearce Esler and Caleb Gibson
Panel: D Gregg, R Shirley, J Montgomery, D King, J Telford, C McAuley, P Esler, M Las, E McAuley, C Martin, S Penny, C Gibson, A Pescaru
Lower Maze 0 Northend United 1 Shield Quarter Final Saturday 4th November 2017
Northend started the game with a positive attitude. The midfield kept supplying Mateusz Las but despite coming close he unfortunately was not able to convert the chances. Northend kept pressing with Conor McAuley and Pearse Esler almost opening the scoreline. The Northend defence worked hard with Ruben Shirley, Dylan King and Jamie Montgomery keeping the Lower Maze boys at bay, allowing them only a few chances in the first half. Half time 0-0
Northend had to make a change of goalkeeper at half time with Caleb Gibson coming on for David Gregg. The Blues kept the pressure on and started creating more space. Captain Joel Telford demonstrated skilful tackling and distribution of the ball and creating opportunities for Northend. Ciaran Martin and Simon Penny came close on two occasions but it was Pearse Esler who put Northend ahead after reading the play well and following up on a through ball from Dylan King. Northend nearly added to the score with a Jamie Montgomery free kick which shaved the bar. The last 5 minutes required the Northend boys to show grit as Lower Maze pressed to take this game to extra time. The defence, with particularly powerful central defence, stayed strong and with support from midfield closed all Lower Maze efforts down. Full time 0-1
These boys have not had an easy start to their season with top of the league fixtures and injuries but are now starting to gel as a team and they should be proud of themselves. Keep up the positive attitude boys!
Man of the Match: Team performance
Panel: D Gregg, R Shirley, J Montgomery, D Hamill, J Telford, C McAuley, P Esler, M Las, E McAuley, C Martin, S Penny, C Gibson