Northend United 0 Dundela 1 NIBFA Cup Quarter Final Saturday 22nd February 2020
This Quarter Final NIBFA Cup match kicked off in horrendous weather conditions. Northend started on the front foot and it wasn't long before Adam Steele tested the Dundela keeper.
However, with the weather playing a major factor in this game, Dundela were finding space down their right wing. From one of these forays, Dundela took the lead midway through the half with their right winger cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable shot. With Connor McAuley and Sam Millar working hard in midfield, Northend had a few half chances in the rest of this half. Half time 0-1
With Montgomery, Ferris and Martin all retiring at half time due to the wet and freezing conditions, a reshaped Northend took the field for the second half. Jack McIlhatton and Ruben Shirley bolstered the Northend midfield, with McAuley dropping into defence.
With Northend playing into the strong wind, the boys quickly settled into this half. The Blues defence soaked up whatever the Duns could throw at them. Jack McIlhatton was looking dangerous down the Blues left wing and when he combined with Adam Steele, the Blues centre forward skipped past two Dundela defenders but saw his shot go narrowly wide of the Duns upright.
With time running out, Northend won a free-kick on the edge of Dundela's box, but the resultant kick went over the Duns crossbar. Steele was replaced towards the end of the game as the Blues went chasing a winner but it wasn't to be. Full time 0-1
Man of the Match: Connor McAuley
Panel: J Bates, A Blair, L Steele, O McAuley, J Montgomery, S Millar, C McAuley, P Ferris, A Steele, M Las, C Martin, J McIlhatton, R Shirley
Loughgall 0 Northend United 3 Saturday 8th February 2020
Northend added another three points to this season's total in their match with Loughgall this week.The match started at a frantic pace with Northend going close in the opening minutes, with Matty Las drilling a shot just wide of the upright. Within five minutes, the same player fizzed another shot just over the crossbar. The Blues kept up the pressure and Patrick Ferris saw another shot go narrowly wide of the upright.
Northend took the lead in the game, after fifteen minutes, when Ciaran Martin rose the highest to head home a Ferris cross into the box.
However it wasn't all one-way traffic and Jamie Montgomery and Alex Blair had to be in top form to keep the Loughgall strikers at bay. However, Northend gradually came back into the game through Joel Telford and Connor McAuley in the Blues midfield, pulling the strings. The Ballymena boys further increased their lead, after twenty five minutes when Matty Las rose highest to head a Northend corner past the helpless Loughgall keeper.
Connor McAuley further increased Northend's lead after thirty minutes, when he headed the ball again past the Loughgall keeper, following some good trickery from Patrick Ferris on the Northend left wing. Half time 0-3
Into the second half and the Blues looked to weather the early Loughgall pressure. The Northend centre-back pairing looked solid throughout this opening spell and set the basis for a another assured second half performance.
As play began to get bogged down in midfield throughout this half, only Ciaran Martin provided an opening down the Northend right wing for the Blues. Northend could have further increased their lead on twenty minutes, when Martin centred the ball across the Loughgall six yard box, only for the Blues strikers to be slow to react and the chance went a begging.
Almost of full time, Northend should have made it four goals when they were awarded a penalty, but Jamie Montgomery blasted the ball over the Loughgall crossbar. Full time 0-3
Man of the Match: Alex Blair
Panel: J Bates, L Steele, A Blair, J Montgomery, O McAuley, J Telford, C McAuley, P Ferris, M Las, C Martin, R Shirley, J McIlhatton
Northend United 4 Ballymoney Youth 1 MUYL Cup Saturday 1st February 2020
Northend started on the front foot in this match with Matty Las and Adam Steele going close in the early stages. With Telford and Millar pulling the strings in midfield, Northend always looked dangerous.
However, Ballymoney weathered the early Northend pressure and came more into the game. Alex Blair and Jamie Montgomery were on top of their game to keep the Ballymoney strikers at bay in a frantic 15 minute spell for the Ballymena Boys.
Midway through the half, a great throughball from Ferris found Matty Las free of his marker and the Northend striker coolly lobbed the Ballymoney keeper for Northend's first goal.
The Blues were now playing some good football through the midfield but a defensive mistake allowed the Ballymoney striker to pull them level, when he slipped the ball past a stranded Northend goalkeeper.
With Patrick Ferris prominent in the Northend midfield, Northend took the lead 5 minutes before half time, when a jinxing Ferris run ended up with a cross to the Ballymoney back post, when Las was hovering to score Northend's second gaol. Half time 2-0
Into the second half and with Connor McAuley introduced, it was Northend who were again on the front foot. Telford went close for the Blues with a well struck shot from the edge of the box. With Ferris causing the Ballymoney defence all sorts of problems with his penetrating runs, Adam Steele connected with a Ferris cross into the Ballymoney box, to extend Northend's lead.
Midway through the half, following a series of corners, Connor McAuley steered the ball past the Ballymoney keeper to take Northend's tally to 4.
Las went lose again, when he turned his marker in the box, but the Ballymoney keeper made a good save from Las' shot.
Jack McIlhatton thought he had given Northend a fifth goal when he skipped past two markers and rolled the ball across the face of the Ballymoney net, only to see two Northend strikers seem grounded to the spot, and the chance went a begging. Full time 4-1
Player of the Match: Team Performance
Panel: J Bates, C McAuley, A Blair, O McAuley, J Montgomery, J Telford, S Millar, P Ferris, A Steele, M Las, C Martin, J McIlhatton
Willowbank 1 Northend United 1 3-4 on penalties NIBFA Cup Saturday 25th January 2020
Played on the impressive Olympia Leisure Centre 3G, Northend started this match strongly with Ferris and Telford controlling the tempo of the game. Gradually Willowbank came into the game with their possession football, played out from their defence.
The first chance of the game fell to Matty Las, when he found himself in front of the Willowbank goals but their goalie pulled off a good save. As play flowed from end to end, Willowbank pilled on the pressure on the Northend defence with Jamie Montgomery, Alex Blair, and goalie Connor McAuley in top form.
Willowbank took the lead midway through the first half, when a high ball into the Northend box was misjudged by the Blues keeper and the Willowbank striker planted the ball into an open Northend net. Northend heads didn't drop but the boys kept plugging away with Martin and Millar taking the game to Willowbank. Half time 1-0
Into the second half, a reorganised Northend took the game to Willowbank. With Adam Steele leading the Blues forward line, Sam Millar dropping into midfield and Jordan back in nets, it was a different Blues team to the first half.
Willowbank were now finding it difficult to play out form the back, and Patrick Ferris was beginning to test the Belfast side's defence with his darting runs.
Willowbank always looked dangerous in the second half, with their mature looking right winger creating space but finding Northend's keeper equal to anything the Willowbank striker could throw at him.
Northend were finding spaces through the Willowbank defence with Ross and Steeler linking up well. Patrick Ferris was unlucky again with another chance going close, before Matty Las steered his lob past the Willowbank keeper only to see a defender get back to clear the ball off the line.
When 10 minutes of the match remaining the Willowbank keeper pulled off a great save to get down and push a Matty Las shot around the post. From the resultant corner kick, Las steered the ball past the Willowbank keeper to claw Northend level in the match. Northend went looking for a winner but the match finished all level in normal time. Full time 1-1
The Blues eventually went on to win the match, following a penalty shoot-out with Joel Telford, Ross Steele, Patrick Ferris, Adam Steele and Matty Las, the penalty takers for the Blues
Man of the Match: Jamie Montgomery
Panel: C McAuley, R Steele, A Blair, J Montgomery, O McAuley, J Telford, J Bates, P Ferris, S Millar, M Las, C Martin, A Steele, J McIlhatton, R Shirley
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................., Northend United 1 Ballyvea 3 Saturday 11th January 2020
Playimg into strong wind and rain in the first half, this match was lost in the opening twenty-five minutes, when Northend conceded three goals in these conditions.
Ballyvea's first goal was scored after ten minutes when a clearance back to their goalkeeper was lofted into the driving wing and rain and found its way into the back of the Northend net.
Northend kept battling into these conditions but on eighteen minutes a lofted ball into Northend's box found the head of the Ballyvea striker, who planted the ball in the top corner of the Northend net.
Again, Northend took the game to Ballyvea and a Telford corner saw Matty Las cannon his header off the Ballyvea crossbar. Northend kept piling on the pressure and from another Telford corner, the ball was cleared upfield and when the Ballyvea striker outpaced the Northend defence he planted the ball in the bottom corner of the Northend net.
In a final flurry in the first half, Northend won another series of corners, with the ball being cleared off the Ballyvea goal line before Connor McAuley scored in a goalmouth scramble from another corner, to pull a goal back for Northend just before half time. Half time 1-3
Into the second half and Northend were pushing forward looking to pull a goal back with Ciaran Martin, Adams Steele and Patrick Ferris all taking the game to Ballyvea. With the heavy wing and rain subsiding, it lead to a half with the ball mostly played on the deck.
Ballyvea's defence put up a stern rearguard in the second half, limiting Northend to set pieces. Again , a number of Northend's corners went abegging before Matty Las misssed a glorious change to get Northend back in three game, slicing his shot wide at the back post. Full time 1-3
Panel: J Bates, J McIlhatton, A Blair, C McAuley, J Montgomery, O McAuley, J Telford, S Millar, P Ferris, M Las, A Steele, C Martin, R Shirley
Banbridge Rangers 1 Northend United 0 Saturday 4th January 2020
How Northend hadn't put this game beyond doubt by half time is anybody's guess, with a number of good goalscoring chances going abegging in a commanding first half performance.
The half started with Northend on the front foot and Matty Las was presented with a great goalscoring opportunity after four minutes, but he screwed his shot past the Banbridge upright.
With Joel Telford and Sam Millar bossing the Blues midfield, Patrick Ferris was taking the game to Banbridge with some darting runs from midfield.
On ten minutes, Ciaran Martin outpaced his marker and when he crossed the ball into the Banbridge box, Ross was unable to control the ball and the chance was lost. On 15 minutes, Martin again was the provider, but in a carbon copy of earlier, Matty Las was unable to get the ball under control with only the keeper to beat. This pattern of play continued and on twenty-five minutes, another great ball from Martin found Ross in the box but gain he couldn't get the ball under control, to slip it past the Banbridge keeper. In the final minutes of the half, Patrick Ferris went on a jinxing run from his own half which ended up with the Banbridge goalkeeper making a great save at his feet. Half time 0-0
Into the second half and Banbridge raised their game, with Northend not reaching the heights of their first half. Northend missed the influential Millar in their engine room in the second half. The Blues defence had to be on top of their game and Jamie Montgomery was a colossal for Northend in this half. With Alex Blair and Connor McAuley pushing forward at every opportunity, down the Northend flanks, it looked like the Blues would get a goal. However, twenty-five minutes into the half, a Banbridge shot from the edge of the Northend box found its way past the Blues keeper.
Northend pushed McAuley forward for the final ten minutes but unfortunately the Blues were unable to score. Full time 1-0
Man of the Match: Jamie Montgomery
Panel: J Bates, C McAuley, J Montgomery, O McAuley, A Blair, J Telford, S Millar, P Ferris, M Las, C Martin, R Shirley, J McIlhatton