Ballymoney United 5 Northend United 1 Saturday 28th October 2017
Northend travelled to Ballymoney to take on a strong side who were 3rd in the league.
The Ballymena boys started the stronger of the sides, with Conor McDonald having a good chance well charged down by the keeper. They kept the ball well and created a few more half openings. After 12 minutes, Ballymoney struck on the counter attack, after a long ball was only half cleared and then volleyed in off the post.
Northend were soon level, McDonald hitting a long free kick into the corner. However, the level scores lasted only minutes as Ballymoney hit a quickfire 3 goals to leave it 4-1 at half time.
In the second half Northend matched the Ballymoney Boys but after a goal from a corner left it 5-1, the game was effectively over as a contest with neither team able to add to the score. Full time 5-1
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, L Rea, J Dallas, C Meeke, J Coates, J Dallas, C Forsythe, C Bailes, M Stewart, C McDonald, R Kerr, J Currie, R Boomer, S Foster
Northend United 2 TTBS 2 Saturday 21st October 2017
After a great result the week before, the Lisburn league threw up another tough fixture against the new league leaders, TTBS, who had won every game so far and only conceded 3 goals from their first 7 games.
However, Northend, full of confidence, started the game at a fantastic tempo. Their high and fast pressing caused lots of problems for their opponents, who lost the ball numerous times in their own half. Northend used the pressure to create a series of half chances, first for Niall Esler who was so close to getting in 1 on 1 before a great last ditch tackle, and then Conor McDonald and Cameron Bailes both having long range efforts either saved or put wide.
However, Cameron Bailes and Ross Kerr were at the heart of all that was good for Northend, and this combination fashioned 2 great chances for Kerr, the first forcing a great diving save, and the second narrowly missing the post.
After failing to convert these chances and their dominance, Northend were hit with a sucker punch. A clearance from the goalkeeper was hit long, and both centre backs attacked the ball but were fooled by the flight, leaving TTBS to race in and finish an easy chance.
This was so cruel on Northend, and things got worse before they got better. Another long ball cause problems, and although Jason Givens saved the first effort, and then Sam Stewart made a brace block, a fine finish from the edge of the box left the Blues 2-0 down.
The coaches couldn't understand the scoreline as the opening period had been one of the best team performances of the season so far, and 2 mistakes were punished.
Northend needing inspiration, found it in the form of their captain Conor McDonald. Some tenacious work from Kerr led to him lifting in a cross from the right, and Mcdonald rose highest and placed his header perfectly in the corner just before half time. Half time 1-2
The second half brought a slightly improved TTBS, as they held the ball better, but Northend got tight when needed to, and Jason Givens only had to deal with a few long balls or crosses.
When the ball was in the TTBS half though, the Ballymena boys sprang to life, pressing high and creating some more half chances. Cameron Bailes was near unplayable when he got dribbling, and he won numerous free kicks in the attacking half, all of which were cleared or saved. However, when Cameron made an interception in the attacking third, and found himself with only one defender between him and goal, he got dribbling again, beating the defender all ends up and being hauled down just as he was about to shoot to win a penalty.
Substitute Matthew Stewart stepped up and confidently finished down the middle, keeping his 100% record from penalties in the last 2 seasons.
At 2-2, the game could have went either way, with both teams wanting to win it, but Luke Rea commanded his backline well, and was outstanding in his performance to prevent conceding again. The defence got some great cover aswell by the hardworking Joseph Dallas and Callum Forsythe, and whilst looking dangerous on the counter, neither team could find a winner.
Before the game, Northend would have been happy with a draw against the league leaders, but left the game knowing it could have, and maybe should have been more.
A superb team performance with a number of players standing up and showing real desire and leadership. Full time 2-2
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, L Rea, C Meeke, J Coates, J Dallas, C Forsythe, C Bailes, N Esler, C McDonald, R Kerr, M Stewart, Z Clarke, R Boomer, S Foster
TW Braga 3 Northend United 4 Saturday 14th October 2017
Northend were a goal down just after 2 minutes from a well worked Braga goal. The Northend boys responded well and were soon back on level terms. Ross Kerr didn't give up on a through ball from Conor McDonald to beat the keeper and finish well. Braga were playing some excellent football and scored 2 goals in quick succession to make it 3-1. Again Northend fought back and after a strong run from Cameron Bailes he was brought down inside the box to win a penalty. Conor McDonald stepped up and coolly slotted home. Half time 3-2
The second half was similar with excellent attacking football by both sides. Northend pulled the score back level after good pressure from Ross Kerr forced the Braga defender to score an OG. The Northend defence held firm an shortly after coming on Matthew Stewart finished well to make it 3-4. This was an excellent collective performance from all 14 of the Northend boys against a very good Braga team. Full time 3-4
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, C Meeke, L Rea, J Coates, J Dallas, C Forsythe, C Bailes, N Esler, C McDonald, R Kerr, M Stewart, R Boomer, Z Clarke
Northend United 4 Hillsborough Boys 0 Shield Saturday 7th October 2017
In the Lisburn Shield, Northend were drawn against Hillsborough, a team they had already beat in the league. Northend's tempo and pressing was high from the start, with Niall Esler having the first chance after cutting inside his defender, which was saved. However Hillsborough could not deal with the intensity of the Ballymena lads, and were behind after a high press by Cameron Bailes meant he took possession in the attacking half, and after a 1-2 with Conor McDonald he slotted in across the keeper.
It was 2-0 shortly after, as a Northend shot was blocked, but hesitancy in the Hillsborough defence led to Conor turning scorer, after beating the defence to the ball and picking his spot. At this stage, Northend goalkeeper Jason Givens was forced into a superb diving save to his right, after a good shot from outside the box. This save prevented Hillsborough a way back into the game. Northend went back on the offensive, and after some great passing buildup, right back Callum Forsythe produced a pinpoint cross for Niall Esler to poke home on the volley for 3-0 at half time. Half time 3-0
Northend began the second half resolute not to concede and close out the game, and Jude Currie continued to pull strings in midfield along with Cameron Bailes, whilst a solid defence received good protection from the hardworking midfielders.
Whenever Northend did get the ball down and play passing football, they continued to look very dangerous. However, a Hillsborough breakthrough almost came from Northend's own mistake, as a loose backpass forced keeper Givens to show great pace, awareness and bravery to challenge an attacker for the loose ball and clear to safety.
At the other end, Northend looked dangerous from set pieces.
From 2 free kicks Jude Currie played immaculate crosses, only for Conor Mcdonald to head the first wide, and then come very close with a great volley. Then, a Currie corner again evaded the defence, and Zach Clarke showed great technique to hammer the volley towards the top corner, only for the goalkeeper to somehow tip the ball onto the bar and away, preventing what would have been a great goal.
Again the Hillsborough keeper made a fine save, as link up from Matthew Stewart and Sam Stewart led to the ball being laid to Mcdonald, who again placed the ball perfectly only for the keeper to deny him with a dive to his left. However, the set piece pressure told, and a Connor Meeke free kick was dummied by Mcdonald and hit the post, allowing Matthew Stewart to tap in from a few yards. The game ended 4-0 after a really good team performance. Full time 4-0
Panel: J Givens, N Esler, L Rea, C Forsythe, C Meeke, J Coates, C Bailes, J Dallas, J Currie, R Kerr, C McDonald, S Stewart, M Stewart, R Boomer, Z Clarke
Loughgall 3 Northend United 1 Saturday 30th September 2017
A combination of poor finishing from the Northend forwards and a good performance from the Loughgall keeper meant the teams finished level at half time Half time 0-0
Into the second half and Loughgall caught Northend sleeping and scored three goals in quick succession. Northend continued to press forward and hit the crossbar twice and missed a host of easy chances before Callum Forsythe finally found the net. Full time 3-1
Panel: J Givens, S Stewart, L Rea, C Meeke, C Forsythe, J Coates, N Esler, J Dallas, C Bailes, C McDonald, M Stewart, C Metrustry, S Foster, Z Clarke
Northend United 2 Lisburn Rangers 3 Saturday 23rd September
Northend started sluggishly in this game but managed to take the lead after a brilliant run by Cameron Bailes led to a free kick 35 yards out. Captain Conor McDonald stepped up and hammered a shot into the far corner to open the scoring in style.
Minutes later, after Ross Kerr pounced on a loose ball in the box, a clumsy tackle felled him and only a crazy decision by the referee not to give a penalty stopped the Ballymena boys having the chance to extend their lead.
Within minutes, Rangers were level, after a free kick of their own was given on the edge of the box and well dispatched. Half time arrived with the scores level. Half time 1-1
After the break, centre midfielder Cameron Bailes' influence on the match grew, and he was magnificent throughout the game. Again a mazy run left 3 defenders in his wake, and after beating a fourth was tripped in the box, for a penalty. Matthew Stewart stepped up and confidently found the bottom corner.
From this point the game seemed to heat up, with 3 Lisburn players being booked for over the top tackles.
Eventually a second free kick from Rangers sneaked through the wall to equalise. Ross Kerr again was denied a clear foul on the edge of the box and then on the break, Rangers scored a clearly offside goal, sparking despair in the players and coaching staff of Northend.
With Rangers players still involved in some heavy tackles, a crunching studs up tackle on Luke Rea led to a Lisburn player finally seeing red for a tackle that could have cause serious injury.
However the game was all but over and Northend couldn't find an equaliser before the finish. Full time 2-3
Panel: J Givens, N Esler, L Rea, C Forsythe, C Meeke, J Dallas, C Bailes, J Currie, C McDonald, M Stewart, R Kerr, Z Clarke, S Stewart, C Metrustry, S Foster
Hillsborough Boys 0 Northend United 5 Saturday 16th September 2017
The 2002s went into their match vs Hillsborough needing a win to show some reward for good performances. An unchanged 11 started the game extremely positively, with the first possession of the game nearly seeing Matthew Stewart put through on goal, but for a last ditch challenge. The opening 10 minutes were well dominated by the Ballymena boys, passing the ball confidently and accurately. After 12 minutes, after another attack was semi cleared, the ball broke to Joseph Dallas on the edge of the area, and his screaming drive flew over the keeper and dipped under the crossbar, giving the boys a well deserved lead.
At the other end, Jason Givens had to command his box, and swept up many long balls and helping out his defence. He was forced into a 50-50 after a through pass fell between him and the Hillsborough striker, and he bravely put his body in the way to make the save. After this he was largely untroubled through the rest of the game.
Northend continued to look good in attack, this time with Jude Currie playing a through ball to Ross Kerr, who got there before the keeper and applied a deft chip to score the second. Half time came soon after and the lads had a well deserved lead. Half time 0-2
After the break, the pressure was applied by Hillsborough, and whilst Northend were maybe guilty of taking their foot off the gas, they were never in danger of conceding as a strong defensive effort protected their 2 goal cushion.
After about 15 minutes of the half, Northend's dominance picked up again, with Conor Mcdonald and Cameron Bailes instrumental in droning play forward after a few subs had provided some fresh legs. It was captain Mcdonald who finally seized back control, chesting a pass and turning a defender in one movement, before passing into the net with his left foot. Minutes later, Bailes cushioned a header over the defence after some great build up from Sam Stewart and, the same man who started the move found himself on the end of Bailes' pass and slotted into the corner.
As Northend hunted for more goals, right back Niall Esler found himself in behind the defence from a Mcdonald pass and slotted in at the near post to score his first goal for the club.
There were more chances and the score line could have been more as Northend eventually ran out 5-0 winners in a fantastic team performance. Full time 0-5
Panel: J Givens, N Esler, L Rea, J Dallas, C Meeke, J Coates, C Bailes, J Currie, C McDonald, M Stewart, R Kerr, S Stewart, C Metrustry, C Forsythe, S Foster
Northend United 1 Dromore Amateurs 2 Saturday 9th September 2017
Northend 2002s showed a much improved performance to push a good Dromore side close.
The match started at a high tempo, with Northends midfield holding possession well and the defence looking sure. They failed however to break down Dromore, and Dromore had the first chance, which was well saved by Jason Givens.
Some good interplay and high pressure led to Ross Kerr having a snapshot that rolled wide, but the half was mostly contested in midfield, with neither team seizing control. However, just before the break, a great Northend attack was worked well between Matthew Stewart and Conor McDonald, and McDonald saw his shot saved, but got another chance after Ross Kerr kept it alive and McDonald tapped in. Half time 1-0
The second half was far more physical, with both teams going hard into all tackles. Cameron Bailes had a good chance saved after some more Kerr work on the right. At the other end, Givens produced a brilliant save but couldn't prevent the rebound from going in.
Minutes later the game was turned on its head as a magnificent free kick was scored by Dromore to take the lead.
Northend pushed hard for the last 15 minutes, with Jude Currie seeing a screaming effort being tipped onto the post, and Kerr scored but was called offside.
The game ended 2:1, with Northend unlucky to come away empty handed after a great performance. Full time 1-2
Panel: J Givens, L Rea, R Boomer, J Dallas, C Meeke, J Coates, C Bailes, C McDonald, S Stewart, C Metrustry, R Kerr, J Currie, S Foster, M Stewart
Downpatrick 4 Northend United 0 Saturday 2nd September 2017
Northend 2002s started their Lisburn League season against Downpatrick. After a difficult but impressive preseason, Northend found themselves missing a number of key players for the first league game but were still able to field a team capable of competing against Downpatrick.
The match started positively for Northend, keeping possession well, with Cameron Bailes and Jude Currie particularly impressing. However, the attack lacked the incision required to make any real chances of note. Downpatrick seized on a loose throw in to swiftly counter and take the lead against the run of play after 15 minutes. It was a blow for the Ballymena boys who never really managed to regain their earlier dominance.
Jude Currie however did deliver a series of fantastic set pieces which lacked the final touch to equalise the game.
Minutes later, Downpatrick doubled their lead, with another counter attack which caught the Northend defence sleeping. Half time 2-0
After half time the Northend lads did improve, again being able to hold possession better and causing the Downpatrick defence a few more problem. Against the run of play though Downpatrick again countered and scored a third, basically taking the game away from Northend. As the lads pushed for a goal back, another counter attack pushed the score line to 4-0. Full time 4-0
The final score didn't tell the whole story of the game, and was harsh on the Ballymena lads. They will continue to improve and results will be better in future.
Panel: L Rea, R Boomer, J Dallas, C Meeke, J Coates, C Bailes, C Forsythe, C Metrustry, R Kerr, S Foster, J Currie, C Barr