Northend United 2 Rathcoole 5 Saturday 14th December 2019
This week Northend faced a Rathcoole team in some gale force winds in Larne. The game in general had no flow as the wind prevented any sign of decent football from being played, and in the first half the winds kept Rathcoole penned in and sent any clearances straight back into their half.
The Northend lads knew they needed to make the most of this and after a bright start, struggled to really affect the Rathcoole defence. Halfway through the half though a Northend corner was scrambled over the line by Leon Spurgeon for a 1-0 lead. Soon after, some high pressing allowed Jack Agnew to win the ball and break through the defence and finish confidently for a 2-0 lead at halftime. Half time 2-0
In all honesty, the coaches knew that 2-0 playing into the wind was extremely hard to protect. And right enough, Rathcoole scored 2 early goals at the start of the half to equalise. The wind continued to get stronger, and brought some rain, as Rathcoole did go into the lead with a long-range effort into the top corner. Cameron Bailes has a superb chance to equalise after a brilliant run, but the shot went narrowly wide. After this, further Rathcoole pressure led to them extending their lead to 5-2 and the game ended at a canter. In all honestly, the Rathcoole team just made much better use of the conditions, and deserved their win, Full time 2-5
Panel: J Scullion, D Young, J Coates, L Rea, J Dallas, C Bailes, R Mark, J Agnew, N Esler, L Spurgeon, M Stewart, C Meeke, L Herbison
Iveagh United 1 Northend United 6 Saturday 7th December 2019
After 3 wins on the bounce Northend U18s this week took on Iveagh, a team they had already beaten twice this season. The early stages definitely favoured the Blues and they should have led after a brilliant break down the left, allowed Leon Spurgeon to cross for Matthew Stewart who couldn't quite turn it home. A great chance was made soon after though as a brilliant Cameron Bailes turn opened up a mass of space and he sent Spurgeon away who was brought down for a penalty. Jack Agnew calmly stepped up and finished low in the corner for an early lead.
The 10 minutes that followed were potentially the best 10 minutes of the season for the Blues. The Ballymena lads completely dominated the ball and looked extremely dangerous. First, a brilliantly worked move involving Bailes, Agnew and Stewart brought the ball to Niall Esler who finished across the goalkeeper brilliantly. Minutes later, another chance fell to Esler on the edge of the box and he again slotted home first time to make it 3-0. The Ballymena lads kept coming and again Stewart was provider at the end of a good move to allow Jason Givens to swivel and fire home. Half time 0-4
The second half was also controlled by the Ballymena lads. The half started well as Spurgeon got his well-deserved goal and slotted home another good break to give a commanding lead. Many more chances flowed, as Stewart hit the bar, Spurgeon missed a great chance and Esler had a couple of chances to collect his hat trick. Like Rea came up from defence for a set piece and had 2 efforts scrambled off the line. Givens also had another goal disallowed for a narrow offside decision.
The sixth goal did come however as Bailes stepped up to a free kick wide on the left, and with no right to shoot, he fired the ball straight in at the near top corner. The game was essentially done as a contest and the level of both teams dropped. However, Iveagh did get themselves a consolation goal with a low finish into the corner. A note should go to the defence and goalkeeper Jude Scullion who were solid for (nearly) all of the match and gave a great platform for the midfield and attackers to go forward. Full time 1-6
Panel: J Scullion, L Herbison, J Dallas, L Rea, J Coates, D Young, J Agnew, C Bailes, N Esler, L Spurgeon, M Stewart, J Givens
Albert Foundry 0 Northend United 1 Friday 22nd November 2019
This weekend Northend faced an Albert Foundry team who were top of the table at the start of the day, knowing a win would elevate them above the Belfast Team.
The game started in frantic fashion with a real physical battle emerging on the pitch. The first chance of the day fell to Northend as Cameron Bailes dribbled well and slotted Niall Esler In down the right, only for the keeper to save his angled shot. Minutes later Esler showed the best quality of the game so far with a superb chop to beat a defender first time and reflex an effort against the bar.
Neither team were at their fluent best and the passing of Northend was disrupted by the physicality of the match. Before half time, Foundry worked a golden opportunity as their winger found himself bearing down on goal and Jude Scullion did excellently to stay big, and make a brilliant save Half time 0-0
The second half followed a similar pattern of a physical encounter without much flow. Cameron Bailes however on a few occasions showed his quality with some brilliant dribbles which just didn't get the finish they deserved. On the 50-minute mark Cameron did however make the game's biggest impact so far. A free kick from about 30 yards was hit over the wall and dipped into the bottom corner to give the Blues the lead.
After this point, Northend knew they had a tough task to hold onto a deserved lead. Foundry pushed hard with a few set pieces causing a few issues but from open play the centre back partnership of Joseph Dallas and Luke Rea were brilliant, and received some excellent protection from Dylan Young in midfield.
The blues held on to the lead, seen out the game to its finish and in the end earned a great win to send them top of the table. Final score 1-0
Panel: J Scullion, L Herbison, L Rea, J Dallas, J Coates, D Young, R Mark, C Bailes, N Esler, M Stewart, C O'Neill, S Foster
Northend United 4 Iveagh United 1 Saturday 16th November 2019
Having lost 2 games in a row Northend got back to winning ways last weekend and looked to build on that this weekend against Iveagh at the Cliff. The two teams had already met earlier this season at the Cliff in the Supplementary Cup, Northend coming out on top that day 5-3. This game started in similar fashion to the last with Northend starting really well having the spoils of the early possession with which came some early chances. Chris Fullerton did well to get on the end of a through ball before rounding the keeper but was unable to keep his shot down. He had another chance soon after as he was put through one on one down the right-hand side but the Iveagh keeper made a decent save. It wasn't long before the pressure told and Northend took the lead as Cameron Bailes picked up the ball outside the box, beat a few men and calmly slotted past the keeper. 1-0 Northend. One became two not long after as Chris Fullerton was put through one on one, the keeper got a hand to it but the fell to Leon Spurgeon who fired home from a couple of yards out. 2-0 Northend. The goal of the game came 3 minutes before half-time as a Northend corner was only half cleared, it fell to Cameron Bailes on the edge box he flicked the ball over the defender's head and struck a sweet left footed volley rising into the top left corner of the net. Half-time 3-0
The second half started as the first half finished and within a couple of minutes Northend were 4-0 up as Cameron Bailes completed his hat-trick with a goal similar to his first beating several defenders and finishing past the keeper with his left foot. Northend continued to create chances with Jack Agnew going close on a couple of occasions. The Northend defence did well to limit Iveagh to few chances throughout the game and Northend goalkeeper Jason Givens was solid on the few occasions he was called into action. Iveagh did pull one back however in the second half from a corner, but it was only a consolation. The end of the game was marred slightly by two red cards firstly one for an Iveagh player with 10 minutes to go and then one for Chris Fullerton with 5 minutes to go. Full time 4-1
Panel: J Givens, D Young, L Rea, J Dallas, J Coates, R Mark, J Agnew, C Bailes, L Spurgeon, N Esler, C Fullerton, L Herbison, C Meeke, M Stewart