South Antrim 1-4 NICS (M.Gray)
In the final Kirk cup game of the group stage, South played host to Civil Service. Knowing that even a win would be unlikely to secure a place in the semi finals, South were nevertheless keen to finish on a high. The opening spell of the game saw the home team control possession with some nice moves, especially down the left hand side, with Jonny Patterson and Ward Phillips linking up well. As the half wore on South created several good openings, whilst restricting the experienced Civil Servants to few chances. The midfield of Matthew Getty, Jack Redpath and Chris Henry were controlling the match well, acting as excellent outlets for the defence. A surging run from Adam Glass and tireless work from Paul Maguire led to several shots on the opposition goal. South also won their fair share of short corners, three in the opening exchanges, two of which were met with incredible saves from the visiting keeper. As the interval drew closer, Service won a penalty corner. Knowing that this was the opposition’s main strength, South’s defensive game plan was to prevent the concession of such set pieces. Indeed, Service displayed their potency and duly dispatched the drag flick past the helpless defence on the line. Despite being behind, South were positive going into the interval, that the points were there for the taking, if they could be more clinical in front of goal.
The start of the second half began and within minutes, South were 2 down. A lapse in concentration from a defender on the ball led to a chance for Service. Mark Hutchinson in goal did well to deal with the initial shot, but the Service forward made no mistake with the rebound, rifling through a crowd with a powerful reverse. The goal stood, despite there being dubious dangerous play by the attacking team in the build up. Within ten minutes, South had dropped further behind. A hopeful ball from the left side of the pitch crashed into the D found an attacker, who managed to squirm the ball past the keeper with a deflection to stretch the lead. South unfortunately found themselves 3-0 down, despite having dominated possession and having more clear cut chances. Young James Brown nearly hit back almost immediately for South, having his flick rattle the post after a slick penalty corner routine. As the game wore on, South continued to make, and unfortunately, miss chances. Rather disappointingly, another Service corner was won and scored with a drag flick. The final moments of the game arrived and there was still time for a goal for the home side, and it was surely pick of the bunch. South’s right wing back, Mark Gray, picked up the ball on the wide right of pitch, after a fine spread of play from Irish badminton sensation Matthew Getty. He drove past several defenders and weaved his way along the by-line. When he reached the keeper, he shimmied his hips, faked a pass across goal and neatly slotted the ball into the empty net past the diving keeper from a tight angle. Overall, South were disappointed to lose the game to goals which could have been avoided, yet content that they played well and on another day, the scoreline could have been very different.
Next week is the beginning of the league season at home to Kilkeel. This will surely be a tough test and South will be looking to get points on the board early.
South Antrim 2nds 2-3 Annadale 2nds (D.Hutchinson, N.Wilson)
South Antrim 2s took on Annadale 2s this week knowing that this would be a tough early test for the new look seconds side against an established Junior 1 side. The game started with Dale having the majority of the ball trying to work it around the South defence. The South back four restricted Dale to just a few chances in the opening exchanges, until a strong run from a Dale attacker set up a back post deflection from a low driven reverse across the circle. Then, just moments after the first goal, Dale sent carbon copy of the first reverse stick cross and another scored another deflection at the back post. However, the South boys did not let their heads drop and fought back creating their own chances, unfortunately with none troubling the opposition keeper. A moment of individual brilliance brought South back into the game. Darren Hutchinson picked the ball up just outside the Annadale circle, beat his defender with a quick spin and hit a shot that found the top corner of the net. South kept the pressure on, looking for an equaliser with Annadale were rattled, and thanks to an interception by Mark Conn, he played in Chris Arnott who dribbled the ball along the base line and picked out Neil Wilson for a diving deflection at the near post. This gave south a well-deserved equaliser going into the half time break at 2-2. The second half was much like the first with both teams having an equal share of the ball. Unfortunately, Annadale’s league experience shone through and, from a quick break, a Dale forward found himself with the ball on the base line and managed to wriggle his way into the circle to have a shot that was saved my Ian glass but he could do nothing about the rebound that followed. South didn’t give up hope and nearly levelled the game in the closing stages. Wilson found a pass to Darren on the flick spot, whose shot was stopped on the line by the defender, resulting in a penalty flick that Wilson stepped up to take. Sadly though he could not convert, the flick and hit the post, squandering the chance for south to get back on level terms. Although Annadale won this encounter, the South boys can be proud of their performance against one of the top teams in the league.
South Antrim 1-2 Mossley 4ths (S.Hood)
South Antrim 3s were also in cup action last week, they travelled to play Mossley, to play their 4ths having had the previous week off. The 3rds struggled to get into the game and soon went a goal down. South Antrim went two down moments later after a short corner from Mossley found the net. South Antrim then grew into the game in the second half and began to control the ball. Stephen Hood scored to make it 2-1, but it was too little too late.
South Antrim 4ths 4-4 Downpatrick 1sts (A.Collins, J.Taylor, A.Smith, A.Hamilton Jnr)
South Antrim 4ths took on Downpatrick 1sts in their fourth game in the league cup. Currently undefeated under their new captain, Graeme Alister, the team hoped to continue their run of good performances with a win. However the Downpatrick team started strongly scoring within the first minutes of the game from a short corner. South however reclaimed moments later, a goal off the stick of Archie Collins, to bring south back into the game. Downpatrick’s well worked short corners allowed them to score second but they were pegged back again by a resilient South side. A one handed diving reverse from Hamilton Jnr levelled the scores at 2-2. Continued strong short corners from Downpatrick meant they went 4-2 up in the second half, but South refused to roll over yet. A superb solo run from Jonny Taylor, who ended up scoring while dribbling away from goal with a backwards shot, made it 4-3 with 8 minutes remaining. Downpatrick attempted a reply with two successive shorts, however, now aware to their tactics, the defence prevented another goal. It was a South short that made all the difference in the end, and in the final minutes a switch to Alan Smith and a first time hit sent the ball into the back of the net via a deflection from the keeper. This made it 4-4 and gained South another well earned point and they remain undefeated in four.
South Antrim 2-2 Antrim 3rds (A.Glass Jnr, S.Taggart)
Just over the fence at Friends school, the 5ths started their cup match against Antrim strongly. Good midfield play created plenty of chances for the South forwards but they failed to capitalise. However, 15 minutes in, Adam Glass dribbled the ball to the top of the circle and roofed a reverse hit. South continued to press and Simon Taggart, in his debut match, worked a nice one two with Glass, receiving the ball in the circle and slipped the ball past the advancing Antrim keeper. This woke up the Antrim team who started to press forward. A defensive error let an Antrim winger into the circle, who slid in a pass past the stranded keeper for a tap in. The second half was a fairly equal encounter with both teams attacking. However, a schoolboy error of not playing until the whistle went led to an equalizer for Antrim. The South players stopped when they thought they had won a free in their own 25, and let the Antrim forwards dribble through for the goal. South pressed hard for the winner bit couldn’t find the net with the game ending 2-2.
South Antrim Ladies 0-3 ParkvIew Ladies
South Antrim Ladies 1sts headed to Parkview keen to repeat last week’s performance. South began the match steadily making good passes from midfield to the forward line. However, Parkview were given a lucky opportunity in the circle and scored their first goal as the ball fell kindly to a Parkview forward, shortly followed by a second goal, shocking the visitors
South came out determined in the second half and lifted their game but were unfortunate not to score, with Charis Rodgers and Alannah Richardson sending the ball narrowly past the goal posts on numerous occasions. Parkview managed to place one more in the back of the net during the last five minutes denying the South Ladies any points this weekend. Joint Players of the match, Charis Rodgers and Amy Glover. Thanks to Catherine Fulkner for umpiring.
South Antrim 2nds 2-3 Grosvenor 4ths (A.Wright x2)
The South Ladies were hoping to build on their win from the previous week against a strong Grosvenor side. Unfortunately, they got off to a terrible start by conceding a goal not long after the starting whistle. Credit to the girls, their heads didn’t drop and they continued trying to create attacking plays. The attacking play payed off as Amy Wright latched on to a superbly weighted through pass and slipped the ball past the on-rushing Grosvenor goal keeper. Grosvenor were able to score again just before the half time whistle and South ladies went into the half time talk 2-1 down. With all to play for in the second half, wingers Carly Niblock and Laura McConnell caused all sorts of problems for the Grosvenor defence. The pressure finally paid off as South levelled the score again through Amy Wright. Grosvenor again came back hard to score again and take the lead within the last ten minutes of the game. In the remaining time, South pressed hard with player of the match, Jill Holley, controlling the midfield and creating many scoring opportunities but unfortunately South could just not find the back of the net and the game played out 3-2 to the Belfasters. The Ladies left disappointed knowing that they had plenty of opportunities to win the game. They look forward to playing Holywood next week.