Hillsborough Boys 4 Northend United 3 Saturday 27th October 2018
Northend faced the currently unbeaten top of the table side Hillsborough Youth on Saturday and produced a very strong performance that went right down to the final whistle. Hillsborough had only conceded 6 goals in their previous 7 games this season and they started strongly taking the lead in the opening five minutes of the game. Northend were undaunted by that early set back and took the game to Hillsborough from the re-start. The Ballymena boys got their reward on ten minutes when a Hillsborough defender handled the ball inside the area and Tyrone Mitchell converted the spot kick to draw the blues level. Northend tested the Hillsborough defence on several occasions but just couldn't convert those chances into another goal. Hillsborough edged themselves ahead on seventeen minutes with a swift counter attack and the game remained finely balanced. A key point in the game arose on twenty-eight minutes when Owen Campbell burst through on goal before being cynically taken down by a high lunging tackle by the goal keeper just outside the area with no other defenders within fifteen yards of play. The referee awarded the free kick, but somehow only showed a yellow card for the foul. As the half drew towards an end Hillsborough snatched their third of the game, Half-time 3-1
Northend started the second half in determined fashion and pulled a goal back in the opening minutes when Callum McCann outpaced his marker a fired a powerful shot high into the net from eighteen yards. Hillsborough were rocked by the pace of Northend's play and were fortunate to score a fourth when a high looping shot/cross found its way into the goal. The Ballymena boys dug deep and almost pulled another goal back from the kick-off when Tyrone Mitchell's shot was flicked past the post by the outstretched keeper's hand. The Blues drove forward in numbers and eventually pulled a goal back on thirteen minutes when Kai Barr calmly controlled the ball in the area and neatly finished off a great piece of play. It was now game on and Northend looked the stronger team as they stretched the Hillsborough defence on several occasions. Several further chances either went narrowly wide or forced a good save from the Hillsborough keeper. Full-time 4-3
A great response from all of the squad following last week's surprise defeat in the NIBFA Cup. Hillsborough had only conceded six goals all season and were tested right up to the final whistle of the game. Northend can take a lot of positives from the game, they are more than capable of producing this type of performance, the key is just to get some consistency. A great effort by everyone today.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, S Crawford, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, C McKenna, T Mitchell, O Campbell, J McIlhatton, L Hector, C McCann, K Barr, D McLoughlin
Willowbank 3 Northend United 2 NIBFA Cup Saturday 20th October 2018
A very disappointing result for Northend 04s in this NIBFA Cup fixture, particularly as the game should have been beyond doubt by half-time. Northend started the game slowly but dominated possession throughout the first half. The first clear chance of the game fell to the Ballymena boys on thirteen minutes when Callum McCann fired a low effort narrowly wide from ten yards. Owen Campbell's pace was causing all sorts of problems in attack and the Willowbank keeper made a succession of last ditch saves to keep his side in the game. With two minutes remaining in the half, Owen Campbell was denied again by the keeper when trough on goal and Willowbank broke up-field to score with their first meaningful attack of the game. Half time 1-0
The Ballymena boys knew what was expected from them in the second half and Tyrone Mitchell drew his side level in the opening minutes with a well taken shot inside the box. Northend were now driving forward in numbers and the Willowbank keeper was having an outstanding game in goal. At the mid-point of the half Northend took their foot of the gas and allowed Willowbank too much time on the ball and as a result the Belfast side took full advantage to edge ahead. The Blues were quick to respond and Conn McCann scored on his debut with a smart finish inside the box. It was now full steam ahead to grab the equaliser and despite pouring pressure onto the Willowbank defence a clear-cut opportunity just wouldn't fall for the boys. Full-time 3-2
A really disappointing result, but one which shows the importance of taking your chances and working hard for the full game.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, C McKenna, K Barr, T Mitchell, O Campbell, J McIlhatton, Callum McCann, Conn McCann, C Wilson
Northend United 6 Lisburn Distillery 0 Saturday 13th October 2018
Northend 04s learned their lesson from the previous when they had allowed three points to slip out of their grasp, with a top-notch performance which left Distillery shell shocked at half-time. The blues were quickly into their stride and a slick passing led to Kai Barr laying off a pass to Lewis Hector on the edge of the area and the young winger drilled the ball past the keeper with only three minutes on the clock. Lisburn Distillery tried to put the early set back behind them, but the Ballymena boys looked resolute in defence with Jack Adams and David Magill providing a solid base. In attack the blues looked to be in ruthless form and the second came after ten minutes when Owen Campbell ran through on goal and slid the ball into the net. Kai Barr headed home an in-swinging corner at the mid-point of the half and a few moments later Jack McIlhatton lobbed the ball behind the Lisburn defence for Lewis Hectors to score his second of the game. Dylan McLoughlin and Sam Crawford were carrying the ball out of defence and making good use of the available space to support in attack. With five minutes of the half remaining Connor McKenna smashed home a thirty-yard free kick and as the half came to a close David McKay rode two tackles on the edge of the area before hammering home a well struck shot run from twelve yards. Half-time 6-0
Northend started the second half a little slowly and Sam McDowell took a slight knock to the head when he bravely dived to smoother the ball at the foot of a Distillery striker, but to his credit Sam continued in goal. Callum McCann was staring to enjoy some space on the right wing and played a through ball to Owen Campbell for his second of the game. Curtis Wilson gained some game time following a recent injury that had stalled a strong start to the season for the young full-back. With ten minutes remaining Connor McKenna again drilled a thirty-yard free-kick into the roof of the net and as the match drew to a close David McKay powered home a header at the back post to round off a very good performance for the blues.
A great reaction from every player today following last week's defeat. The work rate and quality of play left Distillery for dead in the early part of the game and the boys looked in no mood to let the points slip from their grasp this week. It's the NIBFA Cup next week and the boys will look to keep this rich vein of form going and hopefully come away with a win.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, C McKenna, K Barr, L Hector, O Campbell, J McIlhatton, C McCann, C Wilson
Northend United 5 Annalong Rovers 6 Saturday 6th October 2018
A game of two halves if ever there was one!
Northend '04's were unstoppable in the opening thirty minutes and blew Annalong off the pitch with some brilliant passing football and four well worked goals. Lewis Hector started the scoring on two minutes when he fired a low effort into the far corner of the goal from the right side of the box. Around the ten minute mark Davy McKay won the ball in midfield before outpacing the defence and slotting the goal beyond the keeper with a neat left footed shot. It was three at the mid-point of the half when Owen Campbell forced the ball over the line following a driven cross along the six yard box; and with seven minutes remaining Lewis Hector smashed home a cut back from Tyrone Mitchell to give the Ballymena boys a comfortable lead. Annalong pulled a goal back before the break but at this point Northend looked more than comfortable. Half-time 4-1
The Ballymena boys made a sluggish start to the second half and conceded an early goal in the opening minutes. Annalong were by passing the midfield with a range of long balls into the box. Around seven minutes Annalong pulled back a further goal when Northend failed to clear the ball following free kick. It was clear the Ballymena boys looked were rocked by Annalong's quick start to the second half although Jack McIlhatton eased that with a jinking run a superb finish to add Northend's fifth. Annalong continued to thump the ball high into the Northend half and as the midfield pushed up the pitch looking put the game beyond doubt this left too big a gap in-front of the back four. Northend paid a heavy price and by full time had conceded the lead for a defeat. Full-time 5-6
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, C McKenna, K Barr, T Mitchell, L Hector, O Campbell, J McIlhatton, C McCann
Northend United 7 Moneyslane 1 Saturday 29th September 2018
Northend U15s produced an impressive performance against league new comers Moneyslane in a one-sided affair at Wallace Park. The Blues were quickly into their stride when Davy McKay opened the scoring in the first minute with a neat finish from sloe range. Lewis Hector scored the Ballymena sides second after six minutes with a well worked corner kick and from that point onwards the result was never really in any doubt. Moneyslane continued to work hard and scored a well worked goal at the point of the half, although by that stage the game was well beyond their reach. The back four of Curtis Wilson, Dylan McLoughlin, David Magill and Jack Adams looked very comfortable and provided a solid base for the midfield to enjoy a little more freedom in attack. Owen Campbell was a constant threat in attack and with the width being provided by Kai Barr and Lewis Hector, there was no shortage of goal scoring opportunities. Half time 7-1
Three changes were made at half time although the pattern of the game continued. Tyrone Mitchell and Connor McKenna had a strong grip in the middle of the park and the boys took time to play the ball from back to front and look for movement off the ball. Callum McCann impressed in a striking role and the boys added to their tally, the pick of which was a lob over the keeper from the edge of the area by Dylan McLoughlin.
A convincing victory and one that was well deserved. The boys have been playing some really good football against some very strong side in both pre-season and in the early part of the league, just keep up the hard work in training.
Men of the Match: Kai Barr and Tyrone Mitchell - both boys bagged a number of goals and worked hard throughout.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, J Adams, C McKenna, K Barr, T Mitchell, L Hector, O Campbell, S Crawford, C Kennedy, C McCann
Windmill Stars 2 Northend United 2 Saturday 22nd September 2018
On a beautiful morning at Ballymacross, Northend 2004 played out a hard-fought game with Newry's Windmill Stars. It was a game of very few chances but played at a cracking pace and with some great individual battles all over the park. The Ballymena boys went behind on eight minutes when they took too long to tidy up a Windmill attack and the opposing striker wasted no time in firing his side ahead. The game was finely balanced throughout and the next clear-cut chance didn't arise until twenty seven minutes when Jack McIlhatton beat two defenders on the edge of the area only to pull his shot wide of the post. As the half drew to a close, Tyrone Mitchell's shot from the edge of the area rebounded off the keeper and as Owen Campbell stretched to meet the loose ball, his effort rose over the bar. Half-time 1-0
The second half was as keenly contested as the first and there was a real physical edge to the game. Northend started to get a better grip on possession in midfield and drew level on fourteen minutes when Tyrone Mitchell's pass found Owen Campbell along the right side of the box, the young striker forced a good save from the Warrenpoint keeper, but Lewis Hector was on hand to sweep the ball over the line. Warrenpoint made an immediate response and put themselves back in-front within minutes. Northend had to weather a mini-storm for the next few minutes and goalkeeper Sam McDowell was in excellent form to relieve the pressure on his defence. The Ballymena boys again started to dominate possession with Dylan McLoughlin and Curtis Wilson enjoying some time and space to bring the ball out from defence. The blues scored a deserved equaliser with five minutes remaining. Tyrone Mitchell again released Owen Campbell on the right side of the area and on this occasion the young striker fired a crisp shot beyond the keeper and inside the far post. Full-time 2-2.
A hard-earned point for the 2004's, but on the back of a tough opening set of fixtures against a few of the league's top sides the boys can take some confidence into the next game and look to notch up some further points in the weeks ahead. The most pleasing thing from today's game was the way in which the boys put the set back of conceding goals behind them, stuck to their game plan and worked hard throughout.
Man of the match: Sam McDowell - a really solid performance in goal throughout.
Panel: Sam McDowell, Curtis Wilson, Dylan McLoughlin, David Magill, David McKay, Jack Adams, Kai Barr, Tyrone Mitchell, Callum McCann, Lewis Hector, Owen Campbell, Sam Crawford, Ruben Shirley
Warrenpoint Town 5 Northend United 1 Saturday 15th September 2018
The second of two difficult opening league fixtures saw Northend take on the early season title favourites in a hard-fought game at Barbour playing fields. The Ballymena boys almost took the lead in the opening minute and it took a smart save from Warrenpoint's keeper to deny Lewis Hector. A swift counter attack saw the Northend defence caught cold with a long up-field ball and the Newry side edged themselves in front. The Ballymena boys put that early set back behind them and the back four of Curtis Wilson, Dylan McLoughlin, David Magill and David McKay were in commanding form for the remainder of the half. Connor McKenna went close to grabbing an equaliser on the fifteenth minute and Northend's midfield were starting to enjoy the balance of possession. For the next ten minutes the Ballymena boys stretched the Warrenpoint defence and had no less than three efforts cleared off the line. With five minutes of the half remaining Dylan McLoughlin ran the ball out of defence and found Tyrone Mitchell in the middle of the park, the midfielder's pass opened up the Warrenpoint back line and sent Owen Campbell through on goal for a well-deserved equaliser. Half-time 1-1.
Both sides started the second half in determined fashion and there was a real physical edge to the game. Warrenpoint notched themselves in front on seven minutes when they were first to react to a loose ball in the penalty area. Northend continued to play some very good football and their pace along both wings was causing Warrenpoint some problems. The game was almost level on ten minutes when Connor McKenna drove a long cross towards the back post and Owen Campbell's header went narrowly wide. Warrenpoint scored their third at the mid-point of the half and with the game finely balanced the next goal was clearly going to be decisive. Northend raised their game and Sam Crawford's lobbed effort beat the keeper but bounced narrowly wide. Moments later Callum McCann's shot beat the keeper but agonisingly shaved the outside of the post. As the game entered the final stages Warrenpoint scored two further goals to put a flattering slant on the score-line. Full-time 5-1
A tough game against a very physically strong Warrenpoint side who'll definitely be in the mix for the title at the end of the season. Northend played some really good football and the attitude from each player was outstanding. With arguably the two most difficult games of the season out of the way, the Ballymena boys need to now kick on and keep playing at this level for the next round of fixtures. If they do, it won't be long before a few points start to accumulate
Men of the match: David McKay and Connor McKenna.
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, C McKenna, J Adams, T Mitchell, C McCann, L Hector, O Campbell, S Crawford.
Northend United 4 Lisburn Youth 7 Saturday 1st September 2018
This was always going to be a tricky opening fixture for the U15's against last season's league and cup double winners, although the blues continued their good pre-season form with a bright start to the game and took a deserve lead on five minutes when Connor McKenna powered home an in-swinging corner at the back post. Northend were passing the ball with confidence and almost doubled their lead on fourteen minutes when Lewis Hector thundered a shot off the cross bar from twenty yards; a strong claim for a penalty was waived away by the referee when Owen Campell jumped to head the rebound into the goal, only to be stopped from scoring by blatant shove in the back. Lisburn rode their luck and drew themselves level on twenty minutes before extending their lead five minutes later. Lisburn were now playing some good football and notched their third on the half hour mark. Northend showed great character in picking themselves up from this set-back and Tyrone Mitchell bent a beautiful free-kick past the keeper from twenty yards to bring the Ballymena boys back into the game. Half-time 2-3
Lisburn started the second half strongly and picked up two goals in the opening ten minutes from a couple of well-worked corners. Northend stuck to their guns and continued to work hard and even with a further set back on thirteen minutes the boys never let their heads go down. At the mid-point of the half Tyrone Mitchell outpaced the defence to lob an effort over the oncoming keeper. This lifted the Ballymena boys and for the next five minutes Northend peppered the Lisburn goal with shots. The blues got their fourth with ten minutes remaining when Owen Campbell capitalised on a shot back pass and calmly slotted the ball into the net. Northend were now dominating possession once again and it only looked to be a matter of time before the Ballymena boys scored their fifth. Lisburn defended deep and rode out the storm before adding their seventh on the final whistle. Full time 4-7
A score-line that didn't reflect just how keenly contested this game was. Northend looked sharp for long periods of the game and if this level of performance can be maintained it will only be a matter of time until the results start to follow.
Men of the Match: Team performance - great effort from each player and a good debut for new signing Callum McCann
Panel: S McDowell, C Wilson, D McLoughlin, D Magill, D McKay, C McKenna, J Adams, T Mitchell, K Barr, L Hector, O Campbell, S Crawford, C McCann