South Antrim 1-1 Newry (P.Maguire)
Last weekend saw South don their swimwear and travel to Newry hoping to continue their recent good run of form, in the pouring rain. Having already beaten Newry 1-0 earlier in the season in the Kirk Cup group stages, South were confident of getting a result. The Lisburn side put Newry under high pressure from the outset, not allowing the home side to settle. The high tempo set by South allowed them to enjoy lots of possession, which eventually resulted in numerous chances. However, the Newry keeper was equal to both Paul Maguire’s and Adam Glass’ early efforts. South eventually thought they’d struck first when Ward Phillips tapped home, but the whistle rather dubiously went seconds after with the umpire awarding a short corner instead. The home side’s keeper produced a fine save to combat the threat posed by a fine Nathan Gamble drag flick. Gamble was again involved minutes later, holding the ball up well and winning South their 2nd corner which was put away when Maguire deflected high into the net. As the half wore on Newry grew more into the game and created their own openings, but a combination of resolute defending and some fine saves from Mark Hutchinson kept them out. South continued to press which resulted in their 3rd corner of the game. The Newry keeper was equal to Adam Glass’ drag flick and had to react quickly to deal with the subsequent rebound efforts from Getty, Glass and Phillips. As the half drew to a close Newry got a rare short corner of their own. Hutchinson, in goal, thwarted away the initial effort but the South defenders couldn’t deal with the scramble which ensued afterwards and eventually Newry drew level on their 3rd attempt to get the ball over the line.
After the interval, South again began in the ascendency. The midfield duo of Lee Marshall and John Semple continued to dictate things in the middle of the pitch for the visitors with the latter having particular joy. Despite the somewhat numerous dubious decisions given against him throughout the course of the afternoon, Adam Glass proved to be a menace for the Newry back four who, at times, failed to live with his trickery. As the rain became more and more intense, so too did the pressure applied by South to the host’s defence. Matthew Getty and Lee Marshall combined delightfully down the right hand side, carving the Newry defence wide open only for Getty’s touch in the D to let him down. Marshall came close moments later with a quick fire reverse, after being played in cleverly by younger brother Adam from a long corner, but the home side’s keeper was once again found in superb form.
Unlucky not to win the game, but South can be content with a point in tough conditions against a formidable side. The Lisburn outfit return to action next Saturday with a 3pm push back against Portadown at Friends’ School Lisburn.
South Antrim 3rds v Cliftonville 2nds
Postponed due to lack of sunshine.
South Antrim 4ths 4-1 South Antrim 5ths (A.Hamilton Jnr x3, G.Campbell) (I.McElhinney)
Derby day arrived and so did Hurricane Abigail. The rain wasn’t taking time to come down when the match started. However, this did not deter both teams from trying to play some attractive hockey. Both sides started brightly with the veteran Taylor trying to control the midfield for the 4ths but the youthful Bell was cancelling him out. A slight delay occurred 10 mins in when the lights went out. A quick phone call to club captain Marshall and the match resumed 15 minutes later, just as the players had thawed out. South 4ths won a string of short corners but the 5ths defence was resolute keeping efforts from both Taylor and Smith at bay. With 10mins left in the first half, 5ths player, McElhinney, found himself at the top of the circle, with the keeper bearing down on him, with a cool head he deftly slipped the ball past the keeper into the net at the near post. However, the lead was to be short Iived when a 4ths break found Hamilton Junior in his trade mark position, at the back post to tap in the equaliser to make it 1-1 at half time.
Unfortunately the 5s lost 3 key players with Mills and McElhinney having to leave to tuck their kids into bed, and Moore going off injured at the break. This didn’t deter the 5ths who started brightly looking to regain the lead, however, with sticks slipping in the wet, passes started going astray and Junior tapped in another after a loose pass was picked off. The 5ths pushed harder but this left gaps for the 4ths to run into and young Campbell for the 4ths in one of his trademark one handed mazy runs scored with a reverse from the top of the circle. South 5ths pushed harder with nothing to lose, but couldn’t get past the experienced 4ths keeper. With 10 mins remaining Junior competed his hat trick of tap ins for the game to finish 4-1 to the 4s. Whilst the 4ths come away with the bragging rights this time the reverse fixture on the 19th December will be one not to miss.
South Antrim Ladies 1sts 0-2 Ards 3rds
South Ladies were hoping to continue their recent good form in a cup match against Ards ladies 3rds. The game began with South on the back foot while Ards controlled the early stages with some good all round play creating shooting chances. After 15 mins, South came more into the game and created opportunities, however, when pressing for the opening goal, Ards counter attacked and some individual skill gave them the lead. The first half wore on, and some good forward play was rewarded with a penalty corner, but as well defended by the Ards defensive unit. Ards ladies again, broke quickly and in doing so won a penalty corner which was well executed making it 2-0 at half time.
The 2nd half was a different story for the South Ladies as they took control early on and continued to press the Ards defence. Excellent link up play between Alannah Richardson and Jill Holley kept the Ards defence guessing. The girls in the mIddle of the park, Elaine Aiken, Abbie Trimble, Amy Patton and Charis Rodgers, worked tirelessly. The south girls broke and in doing so won their first penalty corner of the half which was cleanly struck by Vicky Donaldson but was saved by the Ards keeper.
The girls continued to pile the pressure on Ards and won another penalty corner which Charis Rodgers struck beautifully and hit the post, things just weren’t going right. Ards still continued to press the south defence, but with the defenders holding strong they kept the Ards attackers at bay. The girls all played very well and the scoreline doesn’t give a true reflection on the game. Player of the match was Jill Holley.
South Antrim Ladies 3rds 1-3 Queens 5ths (C.Glover)
Playing their first ever Minor Cup match, the newly formed South Ladies 3rds got off to a slow start against an experienced Queens team on home turf, being three goals down after 15 minutes. The young team started to drive forward and managed to win a number of short corners in succession. Jen Morrow got a great chance to get the 3rds back into the match but was denied by some great defending. The second half was a much more solid performance as the ladies combined their young team with the experience of Julia Moore causing the Queens defence a lot of problems and Catherine Faulkner marshalling the defence to ensure the South keeper, Courtney Mills, had little to worry about. Hannah Erskine and Morgan Muir combined well to set up a number of short corners and with a few minutes to go, Chloe Glover ensured that the young team had something to celebrate with a clean strike into the far corner of the net to score South Ladies 3rds first goal ever.
South travel to league leaders Portadown next week to give them a firm test against what will be tough opposition for the young team. Hannah Erskine and Chloe Glover got joint players of the match. Many thanks to Nathan Donald for coaching and Brian Wilson for umpiring.