Northend United 3 Carryduff Colts 1 Monday 17th February 2020
This week Northend took on a Carryduff Colts team in the South Belfast Cup. The Colts, who the Ballymena lads had never faced before, where flying in their own league coming into this game.
Northend started with a great tempo and pace to the match and had a few early half chances as Chris Fullerton and Jason Givens both saw shots go narrowly wide or saved fairly easily. For all their good play, Northend found themselves behind as a strong run from a Colts striker beat a few players and finished into the top corner. Northend showed a brilliant response to the goal, and soon equalising as Matthew Stewart ran off a Chris Fullerton touch to poke home.
Jack Agnew and Cameron Bailes dominated the first half in the centre on midfield, and worked together brilliantly to contain the Colts and build attack after attack. Northend should have had the lead before the half however, as a Bailes pass released Matthew Stewart and he squared for Jason Givens who couldn't direct the shot home. Another chance came as a Givens pass across the Carryduff goal, a few minutes later, was begging to be tapped home before two Northend players got in each other's way. As half time approached, Northend were a little hard done by to be level after a really good performance. Half time 1-1
The half time introduction of Josh Coates changed things and he immediately got the Blues ticking with some lovely one touch passing, and pushing on from full back constantly to add another number in the midfield. A second goal for Northend did soon come, and again Stewart got the goal after a lovely move which ended in a 1-2 between himself and Niall Esler which completely beat the Colts defence. This was Esler's first appearance coming off the bench after a bad injury and he didn't settle for just an assist, as with 10 minutes to go, a brilliant Agnew free kick hit the bar and Esler was on hand to chip in the rebound when everyone else had failed to follow in. More goals could have arrived but the tie was done and a great 3-1 win put Northend into the next round of the cup. Full time 3-1
This was arguably Northend's most complete performance of the season, and every player was brilliant. But on a night when small margins mattered, massive credit has to go the centre midfielders who controlled the game, the centre backs Luke Rea and Ryan Mark who were flawless apart from the conceded goal, left back Dylan Young and then josh Coates were pivotal going forward, and right back Luke Herbison probably had his best game in a Northend shirt and was fantastic on the night. All players involved were excellent and overall it was a comprehensive team performance.
Panel: J Scullion, L Herbison, L Rea, R Mark, D Young, C Bailes. J Agnew, L Spurgeon, M Stewart, J Givens, C Fullerton, J Coates, R Boomer, N Esler, C O'Neill
St James Swifts 2 Northend United 2 Saturday 25th January 2020
This week the U18s looked to put a halt to a run of 3 consecutive defeats as they faced St James Swifts who they drew 3-3 with earlier in the season. The first half was a tight affair with neither side giving too much away although Northend did create a couple of good chances. Starting on the wing this season for the first time Dylan Young had a goal ruled out for offside and 10 minutes later was unlucky not to put Northend in front as he saw his strike come back off the post. Although Northend had the better chances in a tight first half it was the opposition who went into the break 1-0 up as they scored on the brink of half-time. Half-time 1-0
Northend knew they had to lift it in the second half and did just that as substitute Charlie O'Neill made an instant impact volleying home from a Matthew Stewart corner. 1-1. Northend continued to threaten and found themselves in front after a marauding run from Cameron Bailes from inside his own half beat three men and slipped Dylan Young in on goal only to be brought down by the opposition goalkeeper, penalty to Northend. Jack Agnew stepped up and blasted home to put Northend in front for the first time in the game. 2-1 to Northend. Moments later Matthew Stewart had a good chance to put Northend 3-1 up as he was slipped through on goal only for his shot to be saved by the goalkeeper as he fought to hold of the defender. All of Northend's good work was undone not long after as they failed to defend a long throw which was tapped home to make it 2-2. Halfway through the second half midfielder Joseph Dallas saw red meaning Northend had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men and did well to hold onto the draw still managing to create chances to win the game. Full time 2-2
Panel: R Boomer, L Herbison, L Rea, R Mark, J Coates, J Dallas, J Agnew, C Bailes, D Young, M Stewart, C Fullerton, C O'Neill
Northend United 1 Downpatrick 3 Saturday 18th January 2020
This week Northend took on a Downpatrick side they had faced twice already this season. The game started in the best possible way when Niall Esler broke on the right and squared for Chris Fullerton to poke home.
However, the response from Downpatrick was quick and a sloppy bit of defending allowed a forward to equalise with a header. Northend has chances to score themselves, with Leon Spurgeon and Cameron Bailes going close. However it was Downpatrick who took the lead when a free kick was poked in at the near post. Half time 1-2
The second half was played with Northend dominating most of the ball but lacking the clinical edge as they missed more chances and forced a few good saves. They would come to rue their lack of cutting edge as Downpatrick rifled a low shot in to make it 3-1. Full time 1-3
Panel: R Boomer, L Herbison, J Coates, D Young, J Dallas, R Mark, J Agnew, C Bailes, N Esler, C Fullerton, L Spurgeon, M Stewart, S Foster
St Marys 1 Northend United 0 Saturday 11th January 2020
The U18s resumed after their Christmas break with a match vs St Mary’s. Northend really struggled to get into any rhythm in the first half but should have been ahead when Ryan Mark played a nice pass through to Jason Givens, who tried to round the keeper but forced a good save.
Northend fell behind after a good move between the two St Marys strikers left a 1 on 1 which was finished well. Northend has another golden chance as this time Josh Coates slid Matthew Stewart through on goal but again a good save was made.
Northend were given a lifeline when a St Mary’s player was sent off for violent conduct. However, they failed to make it count before half time. Half time 1-0
The second half was a frustrating one for the Ballymena lads. They pushed for an equaliser but failed to find any passing rhythm or real quality. Cameron Bailes has a good chance after a determined run and from the same attack it looked like Luke Rea was fouled when a goal looked certain, only for a corner to be awarded. Full time 1-0
Panel: J Scullion, D Young, L Rea, J Dallas, J Coates, J Agnew, C Bailes, R Mark, L Spurgeon, J Givens, M Stewart, L Herbison, S Foster