Downshire YM 0 Northend United 1 Saturday 19th January 2019
his weekend the U17s took on a Downshire side, who although they had beaten previously this season, they were behind in the league. Northend certainly my looked the better team in the early stages. Jude Currie was the best of the Northend attackers and both Conor McDonald and Jack Agnew played some key passes in the midfield.
The set piece looked Northend's beat weapon on the day, and they had a Conor McDonald corner shot from a corner cleared off the line. A few minutes later, Luke Rea's header looked destined for the corner, but again was cleared off the line. Jude Scullion showed safe hands at the other end as he kept out a couple of shots from the edge of the box. A Northend freekick routine did result in the ball finding the net, but Luke Rea was penalised for offside in the build-up. Half time 0-0
The second half saw Downshire improve in confidence and quality. They started to look a threat from set pieces also and a few key touches in the Northend defence kept the scores level. At the other end, a fantastic Luke Rea volley was again called offside.
The game started to open up as Northend were desperate for a winner, and the Downshire keeper pulled off two wonderful saves, first from a drive from Matthew Stewart and then minutes later quickly closing down Niall Esler's shot as McDonald had released him. Northend did look open on the counter, and at one stage a cruel bounce led to Scullion palming the ball to an attacker, only for Jason Givens to have chased the full length of the pitch to stop what looked to be a certain goal.
As the last minutes arrived, it looked as though Northend were going to have to settle for a draw, when they deserved more. However, in the closing moments, Northend's last throw of the dice from a corner led to Conor McDonald nodding in and sparking jubilation on the pitch. A superb way to end a game that the blues deserved to win. Full time 0-1
The coaches want to mention Joseph Dallas for an excellent display filling in at centre back, a position he is not most comfortable in. Conor McDonald was chosen as the referee's man of the match, and again it should be mentioned he has been fantastic for the last 4 games for the team.
Panel: J Scullion, C Meeke, C Forsythe, L Rea, J Dallas, R Mark, J Agnew, C McDonald, N Esler, J Currie, M Stewart, R Boomer, J Givens
TTBS 0 Northend United 1 Saturday 12th January 2019
This week the 2002s faced a very good TTBS side who are 2nd in the league. In the previous game this season, there was a tightly fought 0-0 stalemate, and this game was not far different.
The first half had very few chances but Northend were certainly the better team, and we're winning the midfield battle. Chances were hard to come by and a slice of luck led to the Blues taking the lead. A well worked move created space for Connor Meeke to cross, but his cross beat everyone and sailed into the net at the far post. TTBS responded with sole possession but could only challenge from a few long shots which Jude Scullion dealt with easily. Half time 0-1
In the second half, the pattern changed slightly as TTBS came the better side, but still struggled to create anything significant. However, with about 10 minutes left, the referee gave a free kick on the edge of the Northend box, although the tackle looked extremely clean from the coaches' perspective. Fair play to TTBS however, as their set piece specialist launched the ball brilliantly into the top corner to equalise. Both teams pressed for a winner, but the match ended 1-1.
Panel: J Scullion, R Boomer, C Meeke, L Rea, D Young, J Dallas, R Mark, C McDonald, N Esler, J Currie, M Stewart, S Foster, C Forsythe, J Agnew
Northend United 6 Craigavon City 0 Saturday 5th January 2019
For the U17s, the end of the winter break meant a return to action against Craigavon City, a side whom Northend has never faced before.
The first half of the match seemed to suffer from a Christmas hangover though, as both sides really lacked the quality to have any impact in the final third. Credit to Craigavon, who passed the ball around very nicely but Northend's last line of defence stayed strong. At the other end, with Northend's passing sloppy and wasteful, a few longer balls caused some problems and only some very good last-ditch tackles or interceptions stopped Northend from getting through on goal. Jude Currie provides the brightest moment of the half, collecting a pass from Matthew Stewart and then crossing back to the same player at the back post. However, the ball was just ahead of Stewart and he sliced his volley wide. Half time 0-0
The second half could not have been more different for Northend. Their passing and pressing clicked and they began to cause some real problems for Craigavon.
Firstly, Niall Esler was unlucky not to get a penalty when as he was through on goal got his legs tangled with a Craigavon defender.
The breakthrough actually came from a Craigavon corner. After the corner was cleared, Matthew Stewart picked up the ball in his own half and launched a lightning quick counter attack, passing left to Jude Currie. Currie raced from the halfway line, beyond the defence and passed the ball in at the near post. Minutes later, it could have been 2-0, as again Currie got joy on the left and his deflected cross was headed goalward by Conor McDonald, only unlucky to hit the goalkeeper on the back and go wide. From the resulting corner however, Currie put it on a plate for Luke Rea who headed in for his third goal of the season.
Now, Northend has the confidence to dominate possession and passed the ball around beautifully. Niall Esler was the recipient of a a chipped through ball and his pinpoint lob left the keeper stranded, making it 3-0. A lovely finish from the lad. Conor McDonald came very close to a goal when the keeper was forced into a great save from a left footed effort, and the rebound was blocked on the line.
The score line kept improving for Northend, and substitute Scott Foster came on and made a positive impact, setting up Ryan Mark well in the box, and Mark danced past 2 tackles before finishing confidently. Foster then created goal 5 as well, with a low cross from the right expertly dispatched by Matthew Stewart into the top corner. Lastly, Ryan Mark grabbed the sixth, and his second, with the last kick of the game, receiving a pass from McDonald and slotting home.
A brilliant second half performance from Northend and a proper team performance. It would be easy to give the credit to the attackers for 6 goals, but the coaches want to point out the brilliance of the Northend defence today. The centre back partnership between Dylan Young and Luke Rea missed absolutely nothing, and both full backs, Connor Meeke and Ryan Boomer had great games. Also, their midfield protector, Joseph Dallas was again excellent, in both winning possession and keeping it. Credit must go to the whole squad of 12 for a great performance
Panel: J Scullion, R Boomer, C Meeke, D Robinson, L Rea, J Dallas, R Mark, C McDonald, N Esler, J Currie, M Stewart, S Foster