Raphoe 3 -1 South Antrim (P.Maguire)
South made the long trip to Donegal to face a team which in recent times have had the upper hand over the Lisburn side. Despite beating Raphoe to the Senior 1 title last year, South lost all four league and cup encounters against their Donegal rivals. With Raphoe missing two of their key players through injury and South back to full strength following the return of captain Lee Marshall and Chris Redpath, they were confident of turning the form table around in this fixture.
South began the game in control, enjoying lots of possession and showing good attacking threat. They won their first penalty corner following a mazy run down the left by Chris Henry. The resulting Adam Glass drag flick agonisingly found the post before the ball was cleared to safety by the home team. 25 minutes in and against the run of play, Raphoe won their first short corner of the game. The ball was switched left and slapped low towards Huthinson’s net, who was quick to hit the ground and the block the ball. However, the South defence switched off and failed to clear his pads and Raphoe’s Regan was on hand to easily lift the ball over the stranded Hutchinson to make it 1-0 to the hosts. The remainder of the first half saw South again assert their dominance but despite creating numerous clear cut chances, were unable to capitalize on their efforts.
South started the second half where they had left off in the first, by having plenty of the ball and keeping a wrap on any rare Raphoe attack. South’s persistent build up play eventually paid off in the 50th minute, when Chris Redpath attempt from South’s 5th short corner of the game was blocked by the onrushing defender before Paul Maguire stepped up to fire a rasping reverse into the back of the net, his first goal since Simon Watt’s retirement at the start of the season, funny that. The game turned into a midfield battle and Raphoe began pressing high up the pitch, which unsettled South’s rhythm and tempo. This cagy period of the game saw both Raphoe’s Meehan and South’s Getty binned for rash tackles. Both cards seemed to have a negative effect on South’s passing game and Raphoe were now the team pressing for a late winner. With 5 minutes left on the clock, that is exactly what they got. A wayward pass from the back was intercepted deep in South’s territory, which created a three on two situation for the hosts. The ball was eventually switched to Lyttle who had the easiest of finishes to give the home side a late advantage. As South threw caution to the wind to find an equalizer in the remaining minutes, a Raphoe interception from a ranch and subsequent counter attack again found Lyttle in acres of space at the top of the circle and he made no mistake in firing the ball past Hutchinson to put the game to bed.
South will be disappointed that despite spells of dominance and promising play, again basic mistakes has cost them their first points in their maiden Premier League campaign. Next week South host another of their fellow promotees, North Down, which provides an ideal opportunity to kick start their season into gear.
South Antrim 2nds 3-2 Kilkeel 2nds (N.Wilson, M.Conn, D.Hutchinson)
Saturday saw the start if the League Campaign for South Antrim’s 2ndXI. After a loss the previous week to Newry in the cup, South were looking to bounce back with both a better performance and hopefully 3 points against Kilkeel 2nds. With a number of players missing from the side, South had to field yet another makeshift side with many changes. The team fell behind early in the first half through a long Kilkeel pass. However, South quickly found their feet and got back into the game with a goal from Neil Wilson after some lovely play from Nathan Alister on the wing. The equalizing goal seemed to settle South Antrim as they began to play more freely. The second goal came in the form of a slick short corner routine which was neatly finished off by Mark Conn at the back post. South didn’t stop there, they added a third just before half time. Darren Hutchinson this time scoring from a short corner variation, which saw him waltz past two Kilkeel players in the circle before lobbing the keeper. This meant the home side went in with a two goal lead into the interval.
The second half saw a different type of performance from South, one of grit and determination. Kilkeel very much stepped up their game and after a good spell of pressure got their 2nd of the game. With 15 minutes to go and their lead only one goal, South dug deep and with the help of some excellent goalkeeping from Ian Glass and some excellent defensive play all across the pitch South managed to hold onto their narrow lead and record a win in their opening game. After going 1-0 down to an experienced Kilkeel side, South deserve great credit for coming back and holding out for their win.
South Antrim 3rds 6-0 Cookstown 5ths (G.Glass x2, J.Deane x2, D.Hutchinson, N.Wilson)
South Antrim 3rds were on top form as they hit Cookstown for six last weekend. The Lisburn men took a deserved early lead against through George Glass, with a volley from a bouncing cross from the top of the circle. A second from Glass shortly before half time put South two goals up. With the South defence of Adam Thompson, John Massey, Pete Davis and Jonny Dunne rock solid this was then a platform for the attackers to find more chances and score more goals. John Deane fired in two goals in quick succession in the second half. Shortly after, Darren Hutchinson stepped off the bench to beat four men and fire home from a tight angle as the keeper tried to cover the pass. Neil Wilson got on the score sheet as he found himself in the circle on his own with the keeper and scored, somewhat awkwardly, with his reverse.
South Antrim 4ths 5-0 Antrim 3rds (A.Hamilton Jnr x2, C.Black, J.Taylor, S.Glenn)
South Antrim 4ths began their league campaign with a home game against Antrim 3rds. South began well and dominated the first half but goals were hard to come by with Junior Hamilton scoring the solitary goal of the first half, a trademark finish into the bottom corner after good work in the D to create space. With the match still in the balance, South needed to continue in the second half with the same effort as the first, knowing that the next goal of the match would be of the utmost importance to deciding the victor. In the second half, South’s luck in front of the net changed and they got the second goal by way of Chris Black, scoring a thunderous hit from a rebound following a short corner. Jonny Taylor added a third from a short corner and provided an assist for Junior who guided into the net after a hit into the D with such guile that is to be expected from a proven goal scorer. Stuart Glenn rounded off a fantastic second half with a fifth goal, a shot into the bottom corner after good work from overlapping right back Stephen Hood.
South Antrim 5ths WIN-LOSS North Down 5ths
South Antrim 5ths had no game as North Down 5ths couldn’t field a team and conceded the points. There are as yet no reports of intimidation by Trevor Wallace on the Comber side.
South Antrim Ladies 0-1 Ballynahinch Ladies
South Antrim Ladies 1sts had a hopeful start on Saturday against Ballynahinch, with various attacks reaching the circle within the first 5 minutes, one such attack ended with Lauren Boomer and Alannah Richardson narrowly missing an opportunity for a goal. As the first half progressed, a rare counter attack by the opposition presented the South Ladies with a penalty corner to defend, Ballynahinch bundled the ball into the net, meaning that the Ladies were 1-0 down entering the second half. In the second half, the Ladies fought to keep possession of the ball and were kept in it by some amazing saves from their keeper, Heather Neil. Some lovely play from Alex Dugan and Abbie Trimble down the right hand side of the pitch, led to the girls creating opportunities but were unlucky not to get a goal. Unfortunately the girls ran out of time and couldn’t get the equalizer they sorely needed and the score remained 1-0 to the Hinch. Player of the Match went to Allison Marsden for her great defensive work thoughout.
South Antrim Ladies 2nds 5-0 Mossley 4ths (A.Wright x2, L.McConnell x3)
South Ladies continued their impressive start to the season with an emphatic 5-0 win over Mossley 4ths on home soil. Amy Wright continuing her fine form this season, and in the opening stages she took the ball to the Mossley defence and only by some good defending, she was denied her a goal after a sweet shot from the edge of the circle. Mossley responded, but solid defending by way of Nicole Bell and Wendy Li ensured Mossey were unable to get into the South circle. South continued to attack, with Carly Niblock making an excellent run down the right and backed up by Jill Holley from midfield, managed to find Amy Wright in front of the Mossley keeper. The goalkeeper saved the initial shot, but Wright pounced on the rebound and found the net for the first goal. Mossley responded well, getting up the pitch, but a great tackle from the South sweeper set the ball back into another South attack. A fine pass from Amy Wright gave Laura McConnell the opportunity to score her first goal of the game, which she duly took.
Amy Wright continued to put pressure on the Mossley defence and after some fine running from winger Carly Niblock, she was again rewarded when a goal mouth scramble ended with the ball in the back of the Mossley net. The South midfield continued to work hard, with Niamh Doyle making her debut and Anna Dornan returning to hockey after a break, the industrious girls continued to pressure. Laura McConnell was again rewarded for her efforts down the left flank with a well taken goal slipping the ball past the advancing Mossley keeper after a marauding run. Laura completed her hat trick shortly after. A fine reverse pass from striking partner Amy Wright set Laura up with an easy finish to seal the victory for the Lisburn side. Well done to Carly Niblock on player of the match. Many thanks to Catherine Faulkner for umpiring.