Northend United 2 Banbridge Town 2 Saturday 2nd December 2017
Northend started their match against Banbridge Town on the front foot, with Matthew Stewart scoring in the opening minutes. In a 3-5-2 formation, Northend managed to dominate most of the first half and created 4 or 5 very good chances that they failed to score. Half time 1-0
Straight after, Banbridge found the equaliser. A change of formation to 4-3-3 gave the Ballymena boys some control back, and Conor McDonald restored the lead with a beautiful chip. Sadly, with just minutes left, Banbridge scored another equaliser from a well struck free kick. Full time 2-2
Panel: R Mark, S Stewart, L Rea, C Forsythe, J Coates, J Dallas, C Bailes, J Currie, C McDonald, M Stewart, R Boomer, C Meeke, Z Clarke
Hillsborough Boys 2 Northend United 2 Saturday 18th November 2017
Northend faced Hillsborough this week in the Lisburn League. A scrappy game in which neither side managed to grab control led to a game of few chances. It was a mistake that led to the first goal as Northend lost the ball on the edge of their own box and were punished when the striker found himself 1v1. The half ended with no other significant chances. Half time 1-0
In the second half Northend picked up their tempo and managed to start causing problems for Hillsborough. A Connor Meeke freekick was headed on by Conor McDonald and Ross Kerr reacted quickest to tap in.
Some Northend subs managed to add some impetus and after wasting a few chances, the attackers managed to link up, Zach Clarke setting up Scott Foster to slot home. Conor McDonald had a good curling effort well saved that would have tied up the match.
Sadly, Northend's defence couldn't hold out and with the last kick of the game a cross found it way to a Hillsborough player who slotted home. Full time 2-2
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, C Meeke, C Forsythe, J Dallas, J Currie, N Esler, C McDonald, M Stewart, Z Clarke, R Boomer, R Mark, C Metrustry, S Foster
Northend United 1 Bangor FC 2 NIBFA Cup Saturday 11th November 2017
This week in the second round of the NIBFA cup, Northend faced national league side Bangor FA.
Knowing it would be a tough game, the Ballymena side started the stronger, with Cameron Bailes and Jude Currie providing some fluent passing and Conor McDonald nearly seeing a one on one opportunity before a very good last ditch tackle.
A series of set pieces were well defended by Bangor but eventually the pressure told as a long free kick from Callum Forsythe was misjudged by the goalkeeper and flew over his head and into the net.
Northend continued to play well, defending well when required and causing more problems at the other end. Conor McDonald hit the bar with a long effort that appeared to bounce over the line but wasn't given. Just before the half, Cameron Bailes was hit with a bad tackle from behind which sadly ended his game early, and earned the Bangor player a yellow card. The half ended 1-0 to the home side. Half time 1-0
Straight after the half though Northend conceded a goal which came down the Bangor right, which was probably harsh based on the game so far. Soon after, Bangor found themselves ahead with another attack down the right, and a cross wasn't cleared and was poked in.
At the other end Jude Currie nearly got in after a good pass, but forced a good save, and as Northend pushed towards the end of the game, another McDonald free kick was destined for the top corner, but for another super save. Full time 1-2
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, L Rea, C Forsythe, J Coates, J Dallas, C Bailes, J Currie, C McDonald, M Stewart, R Kerr, C Meeke, Z Clarke, R Mark, S Foster
Northend United 1 Ballymoney United 3 Shield Quarter final Saturday 4th November 2017
Northend's Shield quarter final faced them off against Ballymoney, a team who had beaten them in the league just the week before. Both teams from the off demonstrated how competitive the game would be from the off, with big tackles and good passing on display early on. Both teams looked like scoring, with Ballymoney forcing Jason Givens into a string of superb saves, the best from a placed shot heading to the corner which he turned around the post athletically, while at the other end, Northend looked like they were dangerous on the break. Some high pressure from Northend led to the first goal, with a goal kick from Ballymoney being won by Conor McDonald, and his header over the top of the defence left Niall Esler one on one with the keeper, only to force a good save and the rebound was tucked in by Matthew Stewart. The Ballymena boys held on till half time to retain the lead. Half time 1-0
At the start of the second half, Ballymoney hit a equaliser that was all too easy. A pull back from the right found a midfielder, who for the first time in the game found space, and his shot was deflected leaving Givens no chance. The second came for Ballymoney soon after, as a corner was loose in the box, and tapped in, leaving Northend's coaches rueing some missed chances. Jude Currie looked bright in search of an equaliser, linking well with McDonald, and whilst winger Zach Clarke got free a few times, his final ball was lacking. Ryan Mark on his first appearance of the season looked good in centre midfield after being subbed on. On the counter in the last few minutes, Ballymoney find the killer goal, with Northend's defence conceding a penalty from a handball from only a few yards away, and this was finished well. The game finished 3-1 when a draw would have been a fair result. Full time 1-3
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, L Rea, C Forsythe, J Coates, J Dallas, C Bailes, J Currie, N Esler, C McDonald, M Stewart, C Meeke, Z Clarke, R Mark