Banbridge Town 3 Northend United 0 Saturday 23rd November 2019
Northend's push for the league title was dealt a blow this week with an unexpected loss against mid-table Banbridge Town. The blues started the game slowly and never really got into gear until Banbridge had edged themselves in front at the mid-point of the half. This set back did jolt the young Ballymena side into life and they enjoyed a ten-minute spell in which they had a headed effort form Owen Campbell cleared off the line, Kai Barr then forced a good save from the keeper and Owen Campbell shot wide of goal when well placed. Half-time 0-1
The blues started the second half with a lot more determination and almost drew themselves level on four minutes when Lewis Hector shot narrowly wide of goal. Owen Campbell had a strong call for a penalty after being upended in the box, however play was waved on. As the game progressed the Ballymena side pushed forward in numbers but could not find the decisive pass to break down the Banbridge defence. In the final stages Northend went for broke in the hope of salvaging something from the game and conceded two further goals against the run of play. Full-time 0-3
The boys need to get their heads back up after this set back and continue build upon what has been a great start to the season. There's still everything to play for in the weeks ahead and a run of good results will definitely put them back into the title race.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, P O'Boyle, C McKenna, O Campbell, K Barr, L Hector, C McCann
Northend United 2 Markethill Swifts 0 Saturday 16th November 2019
Compared to other recent fixtures, the 2004s started the game slowly but were nonetheless in total control from the very early stages. The blues went close to taking the lead after fifteen minutes when Owen Campbell cut out a short back pass and squared the ball to Kai Barr and the young strikers shot glanced off a defender and wide of goal. The Ballymena boys were slowly turning the screw and a series of corners went close without producing the opening the blues deserved. Strong running by Conn McCann and Lewis Hector again opened the Market Hill defence but both boys were unable to beat the keeper. As the half progressed the central midfield duo of Conor McKenna and Paul O'Boyle we're now winning every challenge and moving the ball with greater pace. Half-time 0-0.
With a good team talk at half time and a change of line up, Northend started to pile on the pressure and the inevitable breakthrough came after eight minutes when a well taken Lewis Hector corner found the head of Conor McKenna to make it 1-0. With countless clearances from the Markethill defence, the Northend back four of David Magill, Jack Adams, Sam Crawford and Dylan McLaughlin had plenty of time to work the ball out from the back; and Dylan almost added to the score sheet with thirty yard shot that produced a fine save from the Markethill keeper. Kai Barr delivered a series of dangerous cross from the wing, one of which was unselfishly cut-back by Owen Campbell into the path of Tyrone Mitchell, who calmly turned the defender to make it two nil on the twenty fifth minute. With the game nearly over Northend kept it tight at the back and secured the win taking the boys to a top four spot in the league. Full time 2-0
Man of the match - Team performance. Not as free flowing as recent weeks, but some days it's just about hard work, keeping your focus and raising your game when it's needed. All round the boys showed some great character.
Panel: S McDowell, S Crawford, D McLaughlin, J Adams, D Magill, C McKenna, P O'Boyle, K Barr, L Hector, C McCann, O Campbell and T Mitchell.