Northend United 2 Downpatrick 1 Saturday 10th March 2018
After progressing into the quarter finals of the Lisburn League Cup, Northend took on Downpatrick for a place in the semis.
Northend started with a high intensity and caused Downpatrick plenty of problems. Jude Currie had an early opening down the left and shit across the keeper forcing a good save down low. The midfield energy and vision caused Banbridge lots of bother as the front 3 managed to continuously get in behind the Downpatrick defence. Conor McDonald saw a curling left footed effort go narrowly wide, and another effort from Cameron Bailes flew past the opposite upright.
At the back the defence were solid throughout the half, and apart from one very good challenge from keeper Givens, he didn't have much to do.
At the other end again, a cross from Niall Esler flew across the face of goal, and Matthew Stewart later faced the ball against the post. The half time score was 0-0 after Northend completely dominated the half. Half time 0-0
The second half started slightly more evenly, but again Northend seized the initiative. The deadlock was broken when a good Jude Currie run and cross was collected by Esler who controlled and fired Home.
The score line was nearly extended when again a Northend effort hit the post. Completely against the run of play, Downpatrick got an equaliser. A deep cross was headed onto the bar and the rebound was tapped in.
Northend went in search of an equaliser. Twice Zach Clarke was sent clear of the defence but failed to capitalise. Northend completely camped themselves outside the Downpatrick defence but couldn't grab the winner. In extra time, Niall Esler ran onto a long ball from Jason Givens and passed it past the goalkeeper. The goal proved to be the winner as Downpatrick didn't get the equaliser and Jude Currie again hit the post in the last seconds with a lobbed attempt. This was a well-deserved win for the Ballymena boys. Full time 2-1
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, L Rea, C Meeke, J Coates, C Bailes, C McDonald, N Esler, J Currie, M Stewart, C Forsythe, Z Clarke
Northend United 0 TTBS 1 Saturday 24th February 2018
This week Northend faced a tough TTBS side. The Ballymena boys started the physical encounter slightly on top, with Joseph Dallas imperious in midfield. However, they struggled to force any real chances. TTBS applied some pressure later in the first half, but Ryan Mark did well to claw a shot off the line
Jude Currie had Northend's best chance as he sound space on the right-hand side of the box but hit the side netting. It was a first half in which the defences came out on top. Half time 0-0
The second half was much the same story, with Ryan Mark again making a super save with his feet.
Northend fashioned a good chance for Currie again but he was incorrectly called offside when clean through.
Sickeningly, with nearly the last kick, a cross for TTBS found a free head in the box, and the shot angled into the corner for a 1-0 win. Full time 0-1
Panel: R Mark, J Dallas, L Rea, C Meeke, J Coates, C Forsythe, C Bailes, S Stewart, N Esler, J Currie, M Stewart, S Foster, R Boomer, Z Clarke
Dromore 1 Northend United 1 Saturday 17th February 2018
This Saturday's Daily Mirror covered match in Lisburn was the 3rd league meeting of Northend and Dromore this season. With both previous games being extremely close, it was to be expected that this would be no different.
The first chance to come dell to Northend as Niall Esler found space on the right and shot straight at the Dromore keeper. In a game that was scrappy, and in general devoid of quality, the breakthrough came from one very good Northend attack. Conor McDonald found space in midfield and scooped a pass over the defence for Jude Currie, who's rifled left footed shot when in at the near post.
With Northend holding possession well and really not being troubled in defence, it took a Northend mistake to gift the equaliser back to Dromore. After losing the ball in midfield from a loose touch, the first attack was stopped, but the clearance scuffed to a Dromore player, who crossed to a teammate and smashed in.
Soon after, another defensive mistake let Dromore striker in on goal and keeper Jason Givens stayed big, forced the chip and luckily it went over. Esler also forced another good save with a shot across the goal after getting free again. Half time 1-1
In the second half the same story, with neither team finding a rhythm and dominating the game.
Matthew Stewart was played through by the magnificent Cameron Bailes, but scuffed his shot wide, however it looked as though he was tripped as he went to shoot.
Dromore also had a header hit the bar from a corner and Givens produced a fine save from another scuffed clearance. Bailes however looked the best player on the pitch in the second half and nearly made the difference. First a sublime run beat 3 Dromore players and as he was about to shoot a brilliant last-ditch tackle came in.
Then, minutes later, a near carbon copy brilliant dribble beat the whole Dromore defence, and as he bore in on goal his driven shot was superbly tipped over.
As the game came to a close, Ross Kerr had one final chance as a through ball found him in behind the defence but the ball was just slightly too hard to control and the chance was gone, and the final whistle followed. Full time 1-1
Panel: J Givens, J Dallas, L Rea, C Meeke, J Coates, C Forsythe, C Bailes, C McDonald, N Esler, J Currie, M Stewart, S Foster, R Boomer, R Kerr, R Mark
Northend United 3 Loughgall 1 Saturday 3rd February 2018
Northend U16s played in the first round of the Lisburn League Cup, taking on a Loughgall side who had won the previous league meeting.
Northend started the game fantastically well. An early Jude Currie free kick was swung into a perfect area, and an unmarked Callum Forsythe probably should have done better but nodded his free header over the bar. The early miss did not deter the Blues however, as their slick passing and high energy caused major problems for Loughgall.Jude Currie was a constant threat on the left wing, with Conor McDonald and Cameron Bailes looking dangerous from midfield every time they got the Ball.
For all Northend's free flowing attacking, it was a set piece that brought the breakthrough. A short corner routine between Currie and McDonald was actually defended, but Forsythe was strong to keep the ball alive and poke it to McDonald. From here, a moment of magic came from the captain, as a quick Cruyff turn took him past a defender, and a drilled cross was nodded home by defender Luke Rea for his first of the season.
A second came soon after, this time with the free-flowing football bringing a sublime team goal. After some play in midfield, the ball was rolled into striker Matthew Stewart, who's layoff to McDonald created space and then his first time through ball got Jude Currie in behind the defence. Currie drove on and then a pinpoint cross found Niall Esler who headed home. A goal that the coaches were particularly happy with.
Currie again found a perfect cross to Stewart minutes later but unluckily his touch at knee height just got away from him.
A 3rd goal in 20 minutes came again as a deep free kick was played perfectly to the back post by Connor Meeke and Niall Esler volleyed home for his second. A good finish but the credit has to go to Meeke for a superb cross which was nearly undefendable.
Half time came soon after with no further score, with the tempo dropping after an injury break for a Northend player. Half time 3-0
The second half was played in a much more controlled manner with chances at a premium, again, two good crosses from the right brought chances for Meeke and Stewart with both players failing to get the purchase on their shots, and at the other end Jason Givens made an excellent save from a free kick to keep the gap at three.
From another Northend counter, from a cross in towards Esler he was hauled to the ground for what looked like a penalty but the referee was unmoved.
Then, three minutes from the end, Northend gave away a penalty as a hanging leg caught a Loughgall attacker and this was put away to take the gloss off an excellent performance Full time 3-1
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, L Rea, C Meeke, J Coates, C Forsythe, J Dallas, C Bailes, J Currie, N Esler, C McDonald, M Stewart, J Dallas, Z Clarke, R Mark
Dromore Amateurs 2 Northend United 2 Saturday 13th January 2018
Northend 2002s returned from the Christmas break with a cracking match against the league's 2nd placed team, Dromore.
Despite the break, the game was far from sluggish, with both teams looking to attack at high tempo. Early on, Niall Esler proved to be a real threat on numerous occasions, forcing an early substitution at full back to try and contain him. In attack with Matthew Stewart and Jude Currie, the front 3 caused problems, and Northend went closest to scoring when an Esler cross/shot was fired across goal, and Stewart just couldn't stretch enough for what would have been a tap in had he reached the ball.
At the other end, while Northend had the most possession, Dromore showed why they are so highly placed with lightning quick counter attacks. After a superb save from Jason Givens keeping them out before another attack led to a shot hitting the post. Eventually, the breakthrough was found, as another counter attack led to a cross and good header which found the corner.
Just before half time, Northend found their response. A clever low corner routine from Currie was drilled into captain Conor McDonald, and whilst his shot was inadvertently blocked by a Northend player, the rebound was forced home by Esler. 1-1 was a fair score at the interval. Half time 1-1
The start of the second half fully belonged to Northend however. McDonald began pulling all the strings in midfield, and seemed to be able to beat players at will. First, Ryan Mark's diving header went narrowly wide after good enterprise by Esler, and then opposite winger Currie also found space to drill a cross to Stewart, who in turn laid off Esler and he would have scored but for a brilliant block. Givens was again called into superb action at the other end and produced an outstanding save from a close-range effort.
Eventually, McDonald's dominance brought fruit, and a through pass was touched past the keeper and tapped in by Matthew Stewart 5 minutes from time. Dromore threw the kitchen sink in search of an equaliser, and when it looked as though the defence would hold, in added time, Dromore goalkeeper came up with an unlikely equaliser scoring from a corner.
In the end, a draw was maybe a fair result after a superb game played in great spirit and fairness from both teams and an excellent advert for the Lisburn Youth League. Full time 2-2
Panel: J Givens, R Boomer, L Rea, C Forsythe, J Coates, S Stewart, R Mark, C McDonald, J Currie, N Esler, M Stewart, S Foster