Bloomfield 0 Northend United 5 Saturday 29th December 2018
Northend had a Christmas friendly this week against opposition from the South Belfast Youth League. The Ballymena boys looked comfortable from the opening whistle and could have been two up in the opening stages of the game. The first goal finally arrived on thirteen minutes when Kai Barr split the Bloomfield defence with a peach of a pass and Owen Campbell burst through on goal to slip the ball past the keeper. It was two nil moments later when the same two players combined again, this time Kai Barr beat two defenders and his cut back from the by-line was tapped in by the un-marked Owen Campbell. The Blues were playing some excellent football and were controlling play. Lewis Hector and Connor McKenna were dominating the middle of the pitch and the back four of Curtis Wilson, Dylan McLoughlin, David Magill and Jack Adams, limited Bloomfield to a single shot on goal in the first half. Northend's third goal came from an excellent bit of play which started with their goal keeper, Sam McDowell, passing a by-ball to Dylan McLoughlin at left back, the defender found Sam Crawford in space on the left wing and his in-field pass to Owen Campbell allowed the striker to set up Kai Barr, Kai lost his marker in the box and neatly finished off a great move with a well-placed shot beyond the keeper. The fourth came moments before half-time and was also a great piece of play, Conn McCann passed infield to Owen Campbell who switched play to the far wing towards Callum McCann, the young midfielders first touch took him in on goal and his second was a thunderous shot high into the roof of the net. Half-time 0-4
Northend made it five early in the second half when Owen Campbell completed his hat trick with a well struck shot from the edge of the area which cannoned in of the cross-bar. The Ballymena boys were playing some great football and created a number of further opportunities which either went agonisingly wide or forced a great save or two from Bloomfield's keeper. In the end it was the Lisburn League side that outplayed their South Belfast League opponents and ran out very comfortable winners. Final score 0-5
Man of the match: A very good team performance.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, S Crawford, O Campbell, Conn McCann, L Hector, K Barr, Callum McCann
Northend United 3 Banbridge Town 5 Saturday 8th December 2018
It was fifth place Northend United against third place Banbridge Town in an all action thriller at Wallace Park on Saturday marooning. The Ballymena boys knew that victory would give them a chance of breaking into the league's top 4 and they started that game at a fast pace. The blues edged themselves in front on six minutes when Lewis Hector cut in from the wing and controlled a cross from Connor McKenna before placing his effort beyond the keeper. Northend's early dominance paid off again after ten minutes when Dylan McLaughlin's cross was fired into the goal by Owen Campbell. Banbridge responded well pulled a goal back at the mid-point of the half when Northend failed to track the run of a player from a well worked free kick. The remainder of the half was well contested, with neither side being able to add to their tally. Half-time 2-1
Northend started the second half a little slowly and Banbridge capitalised with two quick fire goals within the first ten minutes. The Ballymena boys pulled themselves together and brought the game level at the midpoint of the half when Connor McKenna forced a corner kick over the line. The game was finely balanced and as both sides went in search of the winner it was Banbridge who edged their noses in front with ten minutes left on the clock. Northend changed formation and pressed forward looking for an equaliser, but it was Banbridge who scored next with three minutes remaining to put the game beyond doubt. Full-time 3-5
A good competitive game between two well matched sides and a great advert for the Lisburn Invitational League.
Man of the Match: Sam Crawford had an excellent game at right back.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, T Mitchell, J McIlhatton, O Campbell, D McKay, L Hector, K Barr, Callum McCann, Conn McCann, and C Wilson
Lisburn Distillery 0 Northend United 1 Saturday 1St December 2018
Northend were a bit below par this week but still dominated possession in a nail biting game against a resilient Lisburn Distillery. The Ballymena boys were finding it difficult to break opponent who were intent to defend deep in their own half and look to hit back on the counter attack. The best game of the half fell to Owen Campbell after ten minutes when the young striker fired a shot wide of goal from just inside the area. The Northend defence of Wilson, Adams, Magill and McLoughlin were more than comfortable in dealing with Distillery's and a physical battle in midfield was constantly interrupted by a succession of free-kicks which all but ended the hopes of any rhythm coming into the game. Jack McIlhatton made some space along the left wing to create an opening for Kai Barr, but the midfielders shot was comfortably saved y the Distillery keeper. Half-time 0-0
The Ballymena boys looked to lift their game in the second period and were again faced with a side who were content to sit deep into their own half. Tyrone Mitchell flashed a free kick wide of the goal at the mid-point of the half and moments later Lewis Hector hit the post with a low driven effort. With time running out it looked as though Distillery's defensive approach was going to earn them a point until Connor McKenna thundered a thirty-yard free kick high into the roof of the net and grabbed a well-deserved win for the blues. Full-time 1-0
A below par performance from Northend against a very defensively minded Distillery side, but the boys stuck to their guns and their patience paid off in the end.
Men of the match: The back four of Wilson, Adams, Magill and McLoughlin limited Distillery to a single opening in the entire game.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, T Mitchell, J McIlhatton, O Campbell, K Barr, Callum McCann, Conn McCann, S Crawford, D McKay, L Hector
Northend United 4 Warrenpoint Town 3 Saturday 24th November 2018
This week's opponents were the Irish League Premiership Academy team from Warrenpoint Town. The Ballymena boys started the game with some purpose and appeared hungry to avenge a defeat from the corresponding fixture earlier in the season. Northend went ahead on eleven minutes when Warrenpoint's keeper could only parry an effort from Owen Campbell into the path of Kai Barr and the young midfielder calmly slotted his effort home from ten yards. The Ballymena side were playing some great football at this point and matched Warrenpoint in their physical approach. Dylan McLoughlin was in outstanding form at left back and probably produced his best performance of the season and Jack McIlhatton's energy along the left wing gave Warrenpoint's defence all manner of problems. It was almost two on twenty minutes when Owen Campbell cut the ball back from the bye-line to Kai Barr who agonisingly saw his effort rise over the goal. Warrenpoint were looking to keep their title challenge alive and pulled themselves back into the game on twenty-six minutes with a well worked goal. Northend responded within moments of the re-start when Callum McCann struck a sweet half-volley from the edge of the area into the top corner of the goal to edge the blues in-front. The Ballymena side almost added a third before half-time, though on this occasion the Warrenpoint keeper made an excellent one-handed save to deny Connor McKenna. Half-time 2-1
Northend picked up where they had left off before the break and almost scored in the opening minute when Tyrone Mitchell's pass split the Warrenpoint defence and Owen Campbell was denied by another great save. The Ballymena boys were dominating possession, David Magill and Jack Adams were solid in central defence; Connor McKenna and Tyrone Mitchell bossing the central midfield area and Sam McDowell was assured in goal throughout. Northend scored their third on sixteen minutes when Tyrone Mitchell's in-swinging free kick was only partially cleared, and Owen Campbell hooked the loose ball over his shoulder and into goal. Owen Campbell then added Northend's fourth on twenty-two minutes when he intercepted a pass from the keeper and slotted the ball into goal. With five minutes remaining Connor McKenna almost added a fifth and from the next phase of play Warrenpoint showed great character to pull a goal back. The game was over by this stage however Warrenpoint pulled back another goal with the last kick of the match and Northend secured a good win to go fifth in the table. Full-time 4-3
An excellent performance from Northend and in-keeping with the football this young squad have been playing all season. There was an added hunger to today's performance and the score-line could have been much wider but for a number of excellent saves from the Warrenpoint keeper.
Men of the match: The central midfield three of Connor McKenna, Tyrone Mitchell and Kai Barr were outstanding along with Dylan McLoughlin at left back.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, T Mitchell, J McIlhatton, O Campbell, K Barr, Callum McCann, Conn McCann, S Crawford, David McKay
Northend United 1 Lisburn Youth 4 Saturday 17th November 2018
Northend were pitched against the reigning Lisburn League champions this week and gave an excellent performance with no more than a single goal between the sides until the last ten minutes of the game. The Blues started the game brightly and took the lead after fifteen minutes when Owen Campbell ran onto a through ball from Callum McCann, before rounding the keeper and finishing from a tight angle. The game was being played at a frantic pace, with tackles flying in from all quarters and neither side being prepared to give possession away. Sam McDowell was in impressive form with some great handling to deal with a number of high crosses that were floated into the box and Curtis Wilson looked back to his best at right back with a number of telling challenges. Jack McIlhatton glided past his marker and forced a good save from the Lisburn keeper after twenty minutes. As the half drew towards closure Lisburn were awarded a dubious free-kick on the edge of the area and pulled themselves level with a curling shot into the far corner of the net. Half-time 1-1
The game continued in a similar vein in the second half, both sides were fully committed and working hard to gain any sort of advantage. Tyrone Mitchell and Connor McKenna were both working hard in midfield and Northend dominated possession for the opening ten minutes of the half. Lisburn edged themselves in front at the midpoint of the half, Northend's response was immediate when Conn McCann was unlucky to see his shot smash down from the cross bar and bounce on the wrong side of the goal line. Both sides continued to compete for every ball and as the game entered its final stages Lisburn struck a killer third goal before adding a fourth in the final minutes to put a rather harsh look on the score-line. Full-time 1-4
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D McKay, C McKenna, T Mitchell, J McIlhatton, O Campbell, K Barr, Callum McCann, Conn McCann, S Crawford
Northend United 8 Lisburn Distillery 2 Saturday 10th November 2018
Northend were in control of this game from the opening whistle of the game and took an early lead after two minutes when Connor McKenna fired home a thirty-yard free-kick. The blues second arrived on seven minutes when Jack McIlhatton lobbed the ball behind the Distillery defence for Owen Campbell to slide his shot past the keeper. Distillery fought back and scored from a well worked piece of play with a diving header at the back post. Tyrone Mitchell and Connor McKenna took control of the game again in midfield and the blues hit the woodwork on four occasions during the next ten minutes. The pressure eventually paid off on twenty minutes when Jack McIlhatton beat three men inside the box before laying off an unselfish pass to Kai Barr who smashed home a crisp shot from twelve yards. Jack Adams and David Magill were both having an impressive game at the heart of defence and looked more than comfortable in dealing with Distillery's attackers. Owen Campbell grabbed his second on twenty-five minutes, outpacing the Lisburn defence and powering home a right foot shot from the edge of the area. Jack McIlhatton got a well-deserved goal on the stroke of half-time when he ran onto a deep cross from David McKay at the back post and coolly finished from a tight angle. Half-time 5-1
With the result beyond doubt the blues tried playing in a slightly different formation in the second half and several players were able to get some game time in unfamiliar positions. Callum McCann fitted well into a right midfield role and Conn McCann supported Owen Campbell up front as a second striker. The Lisburn keeper was in outstanding form and denied Northend on several occasions in the opening ten minutes. It was only a matter of time before the blues scored again and this time it was Conn McCann who forced a good save from the keeper and then reacted quickly to force the loose ball over the line. The Ballymena boys were playing some good football and it was completely against the run of play when Distillery scored their second with a wickedly deflected free-kick. In the final ten minutes Kai Barr set up Owen Campbell for his hat trick and Tyrone Mitchell made some room for himself inside the box before bending a shot beyond the keeper. Full-time 8-2
Man of the Match: Owen Campbell's hat-trick deserves a special mention - but each boy played his part.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, D McKenna, C McKenna, T Mitchell, J McIlhatton, O Campbell, K Barr, Callum McCann, Conn McCann, C Wilson
Northend United 1 Windmill Stars 2 Saturday 3rd November 2018
Northend entertained Windmill Stars in a closely matched cup quarter-final, with the blustery conditions meaning that neither side really gained a firm grip on the game. Northend started the game a little slowly and had to work hard for ant time on the ball. Windmill edged ahead on twenty minutes with a swift counter attack following a Northend corner which saw an almighty goal mouth scramble before the ball finally squirmed over the line. The Blues responded well and David McKay almost levelled the score five minutes later but saw half volley sail inches wide of the far post. There were few further chances in the remainder of the half with both sides battling hard for possession. Half-time 0-1
The Ballymena side started the second half in better form and pushed Windmill back into their own half for long spells of the game. Like the first half, clear cut chances were hard to come by as both defences were alive to any threat that came their way. Windmill scored their second of the game with ten minutes remaining after a loose ball fell to one of their players in the goal mouth. The Blues responded immediately when Owen Campbell finished off a fight a good passing move with a crisp finish from fourteen yards. The game finally came alive in the final ten minutes as Northend went in search of the equaliser. With two minutes remaining Tyrone Mitchell looked to be through on goal, but the Windmill keeper bravely dived at the midfielder's feet to keep his side in the game. Full time 1-2
A good game of football between two very evenly matched sides which could have gone either way right down to the final whistle. A great effort by everyone today.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, C McKenna, T Mitchell, O Campbell, Conn McCann, L Hector, Callum McCann, K Barr, J McIlhatton