Northend United 3 Anderstown Celtic 1 Friday 16th March 2018
Northend clinched the league title in style on Friday night beating Celtic in a hard fought game scoring some magnificent goals.
Northend started the match well enough, creating a few chances, but went behind after half an hour. They were only behind for minutes though, Joshua Logan scoring with a piledriver from 30 yards. Just before half time Northend took the lead, Chris Fullerton setting up Adam Harbinson to round the keeper and score. Half time 2-1
Northend were really dictating play now and should have made it 3 when Josh Logan scored from the spot but missed the controversial retaken penalty. This only spurred the Ballymena boys on and after chances narrowly being missed by Fullerton and Donnell, it was left to Robert McCluney to step up, and from all of 35 yards he dispatched a free kick into the top corner of the Anderstown goal.
A fitting finish to a great season for Northend who have won the league title with 2 games to spare. Full time 3-1
Man of the Match: Robert McCluney
Panel: C Brennan, T Givens, L Parker, R McCluney, S Frew, C McDonald, A Smyth, J Logan, C Fullerton, C Shaw, A Harbinson, R Lynn, C Gordon, C Donnell
Carrick Colts 1 Northend United 3 Saturday 10th March 2018
Northend travelled to a rain soaked Loughside recreation centre on Saturday morning and put in a professional performance to come away with all 3 points. In an even first 20 minutes, with chances being missed by both sides, it was Northend who took the lead. Some great passing between Robert McCluney and Chris Fullerton, giving Adam Harbinson the easy task of making it 1-0 at the break. Half time 0-1
That goal before half time gave the Ballymena boys a boost and they started to take more control of the game with Chad Shaw and Luke Parker standing out. Not long after, following a great run from Aaron Smyth, Harbinson got his second of the game. Joshua Logan continued his good goal scoring form with the third to kill the game off. Carrick to their credit never stopped and pulled a goal back and nearly made it two only for a fantastic one handed save from Thomas Givens.
Another win for Northend and with 3 games remaining the boys are well aware of what's required in this tense run in for league glory. Full time 1-3
It was also great to see Conal Gordon making his comeback after 6 months out with a broken leg. Welcome back Conal!
Man of the Match: Luke Parker
Panel: T Givens, A Smyth, L Parker, R McCluney, S Frew, C McDonald, J Logan, C Fullerton, A Harbinson, C Donnell, C Shaw, P Kyle, C Gordon
Northend United 2 Institute 4 Saturday 24th February 2018
Northend's great run to the quarter finals of the NIBFA cup ended with a spirited defeat against a strong Institute side. Northend started brightly with Joshua Logan testing the keeper early on. It was Institute who went in front,though very fortuitously,an own goal giving the Drumahoe men the lead. Northend had chances to equalise before the break,but Shaw and McCluney saw their efforts go wide. Half time 0-1
Institute increased their lead early in the second half and looked like running away with the game,but not for the first time this season Northend dug really deep, and got themselves back into the game,Chad Shaw scoring from a Robert McCluney free kick. Shortly after Northend were back on level terms,Calum McDonald,up from the back to hammer home a Aaron Smyth corner.
It was end to end now,a really good cup tie and Institute took the lead again with 15 minutes left and got a fourth with time running out.
Northend bow out of the cup at the quarter final stage but go with their heads held high after another great battling performance in the provinces top cup competition. Full time 2-4
Men of the Match: Sam Frew and Joshua Logan
Panel: C Brennan, C Donnell, L Parker, R McCluney, S Frew, C McDonald, A Smyth, J Logan, R Lynn, C Shaw, C Fullerton, T Givens, P Kyle
Orangefield 2 Northend United 3 Saturday 17th February 2018
Northend avenged their only defeat of the season by beating Orangefield at Hydebank. The Ballymena boys started the match on the front foot with Chris Fullerton impressing down the right, hitting the post with a great shot. With only seven minutes gone, Northend opened the scoring, with Josh Logan heading in from an Aaron Smyth corner. Curtis Donnell nearly made it two shortly after, the post coming to Orangefield's rescue. Orangefield as expected came back into the match and scored two quick goals to take the lead. Northend kept playing good football and equalised just before the break. Josh Logan again scoring with his head from a Robert McCluney free kick. Half time 2-2
Northend bossed the second half, creating chances and looking strong at the back and deservedly got the winner when a McCluney strike hit the bar and Curtis Donnell followed up to head into the net.
A really good performance from Northend who bounced back well to keep up their challenge at the top of the table. Full time 2-3
Man of the Match: Calum McDonald
Panel: T Givens, R Jones, L Parker, R McCluney, S Frew, C McDonald, A Smyth, J Logan, C Shaw, C Fullerton, C Donnell, A Harbinson, P Kyle
Orangefield 2 Northend United 0 Saturday 3rd February 2018
Northend suffered their first league defeat of the season against table topping Orangefield at a windy and rain soaked Grove on Saturday. Playing against a really strong wind first half, Northend battled superbly keeping the hosts at bay and causing them a few problems on the break. Half time 0-0
In the first minute of the second half Northend went behind, the ball fortunately falling for the Orangefield player to finish. Northend tried hard to get back in the game, Ronan Lynn and Josh Logan agonisingly close to scoring and with 5 minutes remaining Orangefield got their second to seal the win.
A great run this season comes to an end for Northend but with games in hand of the leaders the boys know if they keep up the hard work there is still plenty to play for.Full time 2-0
Man of the Match: Aaron Smyth
Panel: C Brennan, R Jones, L Parker, R McCluney, S Frew, C McDonald, A Smyth, J Logan, C Shaw, R Lynn, T Givens, A Harbinson, C Donnell
Northend United 3 Willowbank 3 Northend win on penalties Saturday 27th January 201
Northend made it through to the last 8 of the NIBFA cup with a hard-fought win over Premier side Willowbank. Northend started the brighter side forcing a couple of early corners, putting the Willowbank defence under pressure, but as the half wore on the city side were starting to find their range and took the lead after 15 minutes. This spurred them on and 10 minutes later it was two, when they broke the offside trap to score past Brennan in goal. Northend heads certainly never dropped and with a few minutes left of the half, Robert McCluney's free kick was not cleared and Aaron Smyth was on hand to score and give the Ballymena boys a lifeline. Half time 1-2
Northend started the second half with purpose but both sides were finding passing the ball difficult on a heavy pitch. Willowbank were playing on the break and had a few chances but Connor Brennan in the Northend goal was having a fantastic game. With time running out, Northend threw everything at Willowbank and the pressure told, when Joshua Logan beat his man in the box to fire home. Northend thought they had won it in normal time, only for the referee to harshly rule out Chad Shaw's effort for offside.
Into extra time and both teams were really going for the win and it was Willowbank who went in front again but this Northend team don't know when to lie down and Ronan Lynn scored to take the match to dreaded penalties.
With Lynn, Smyth, Logan and Frew scoring for the home side and the impressive Brennan saving a couple from Willowbank it is Northend into the last 8 of the cup.
Credit to both teams for a hard fought game on a sticky pitch.
Man of the Match: Connor Brennan - Some fantastic saves at important times.
Panel: C Brennan, R Jones, L Parker, R McCluney, S Frew, C McDonald, A Smyth, J Logan, R Lynn, C Shaw, T Givens, P Kyle, A Harbinson
Northend United 3 Ballymacash Rangers 1 Friday 12th January 2018
Northend kept up their 100% league form with this win over a fully committed Rangers side, themselves pushing hard at the top of the division. It was the away team who were out of the blocks faster, trying to cause Northend problems with long balls to a very pacey centre forward. As the half wore on the home team started to get a grip on the game with McCluney and Logan finding their passing range. Then with 15 minutes left of the half and after some great wing play from Aaron Smyth, Thomas Givens finished well at the back post. Half time 1-0
Northend were more commanding now with Sam Frew and Calum McDonald having excellent games at the back and Conor McDonald unplayable at times up front. The second goal came in unconventional fashion after a huge kick from keeper Connor Brennan, and with Conor 'Malcolm' McDonald chasing down keeper and defender, the ball bounced into the empty net. Northend were really flying now, winning all their individual battles and it was three soon after, when Chad Shaw broke the offside trap to lift the ball over the advancing keeper after a great through ball from Givens. Ballymacash pulled one back from the penalty spot late on but it didn't take the shine off a really good and important win for the Ballymena boys. Full time 3-1
Man of the Match: Calum McDonald- A colossus at the back
Panel: C Brennan, R Jones, L Parker, S Frew, C McDonald, R McCluney, J Logan, A Smyth, C Shaw, C McDonald, T Givens, P Kyle, A Harbinson