South Antrim 0-7 Instonians
The third match of South Antrim’s kirk cup campaign saw them make the trip to Shawsbridge to face tournament favourites Instonians. Even with a win against Newry last week, the team new they would have to be at their very best to come away with anything from the game.
As expected, Instonians started with the majority of possession but could do little with it. South defended well in numbers and when given the chance, broke with pace. Mark Gray started to find space down the right and soon hit a teasing cross to the back post but Ward Phillips at full stretch couldn’t get a glancing touch. This warning shot seemed to spur Instonians on and soon after they won their first short corner after finding feet in the circle. 1st XI debutant keeper Ian Glass saved brilliantly from the drag, only for an Instonians striker to tap in the rebound. South continued to battle well with Paul Maguire and Matthew Getty combining brilliantly down the right with a series of one twos, leading to James Brown having a deflection going just wide. Soon after, Ward Phillips took down a Getty ariel pass from midfield over a high Inst line. Phillips hit a teasing cross between keeper and defender that found Jack Redpath in the circle, but he couldn’t manage to find the net with his reverse stick effort. On the stroke of half time Inst’s continued pressure forced another short corner, which in similar fashion to the first, went in following a rebound.
With South very much still in the game, the second half saw Instonians come out all guns blazing. South found themselves penned in their own half, but continued to defend well. Ian Glass continued to make fine saves keeping the score at 2-0. South had little in the way of clear-cut chances with James brown providing their only shot on target in this half. Moving into the last 15 minutes, Inst switched to a full press. With less space to work with, South struggled against their more experienced opponents, the high intensity defending started to take its toll. A combination of sloppy passes and tired legs saw more mistakes creep into South’s game, letting Inst dominate. When South thought they’d broken the press, an errand in the opposition pass saw Inst race up the pitch in numbers, overloading the South defence and pass into the net for a goal. After this the goals came thick and fast, Inst demonstrated some fine hockey and scored four without reply, including an Inst forward robbing a defender of the ball then waltzing past four tackles to score a great solo goal. The Lisburn men will need to learn quickly if they are to match Inst for more than just the first half when they meet in the League.
South Antrim 3rds 3-2 Campbellians 2nds (N.Alister, N.Wilson, A.Farrell)
South Antrim began the game well and dominated the first 10 minutes. A goal seemed inevitable and did eventually come during this period of control. A passage of play resulted in the experienced George Glass receiving the ball at the top of the circle and picking out Nathan Alister with a cross, who duly finished from close range. After the goal, Campbellians roused themselves and came back into the game and began to dominate, South defended strongly for the rest of the half but with very little fluidity in their play when they did get hold of the ball. The defence were solid and Ashley Sloan was required to make a few good saves.
After the break South began in much the same way they started the 1st half and eventually scored a second. This time a wondergoal, Paddy Cochrane threw a well-placed aerial ball over the defence to play in Andrew Farrell who in turn lobbed the keeper with a first time flick, much to the pleasure of the home fans. This goal again led to South having to sit back and come under pressure, Campbellians managed scored 2 goals to level things up going into the last few minutes to go. South got a grip on the game and began to play good hockey, and applying a lot of pressure of their own to the Campbellians goal. The winner eventually came with Paddy Cochrane again the architect, this time a strong drive into the circle leading to the ball falling to Neil Wilson who hammered home with power from a few yards out to seal the win.
South Antrim 2nds were also in action against Bann 2nds in their first game of the season. Missing their captain and keeper, along with several others, the Lisburners were expected to be rolled over. However, to their credit, South played well with a very young team and piped a goal, courtesy of Neil Wilson. In the end though, experience won out, with Banbridge strolling to a 4-1 win.
South Antrim 4ths 4-0 Harlequins 3rds (S.Glenn, I.McElhenny, K.Gamble, A.Collins)
South Antrim 4ths knew they were in for a tough game away to Harlequins 3rds, with just 11 men on the squad list. A good start was vital if South Antrim stood a chance of a victory. After 10 minutes that chance came, an excellent run down the line from Ian McElhenny, and a pin point cross, lead to Stuart Glenn slotting the ball home into the bottom corner to make it 1-0. Harlequins retaliated and piled on the pressure towards the end of the first half, only narrowly missing out on an equaliser at times. A fantastic goal line clearance meant South went into the break with 1-0 lead intact. In the second half, South played with the mentality that attack is the best form of defence, and it paid dividends. From a dead ball, vetern Alan Smith crashed the ball towards the penalty spot with Ian McElhenny in the right place to flick the ball past a helpless keeper and make the score 2-0. South Antrim now with the momentum kept pushing Harlequins, they were a particular threat on the counter attack. One such attack finished with Archie Collins squeezing a shot in at the near post from the tightest of angles. Harlequins made full use of their subs and really stretched the game out in the last ten of the game, but South’s back four were intent on securing a clean sheet. In final few minutes, South won a short corner, Ian McElhenny, on hitting duties, struck a fine effort into the bottom corner in continuing his goal scoring form and making it 4-0 to South come the final whistle.
South Antrim 5ths 1-5 Portadown 3rds (A.Glass Jnr)
South travelled to Portadown to play the Ports’ only team in action that day, their 3rd XI. With just 11 men and a stand in keeper, South knew this would be a difficult match before they even started. From the start, Portadown pressed and kept the young South team pinned inside their own half and 15 mins in, the deadlock was broken, following a defensive error allowing a Portadown goal. The home side continued to press and by half time they were 4-0 up. Having rearranged their midfield personnel, South started the 2nd half looking to get back into the game. Whilst Portadown still threatened, South started brightly and began to come into the game, winning several short corners but were unable to convert any of them. Half way through the second period, Portadown scored a 5th to put the game beyond doubt. However, the young South team kept their heads and continued to battle. With 3 minutes left, Adam Glass saw his shot stopped on the line by a Portadown foot. Adam opted to take the flick himself, and duly scored his first goal in a South shirt. The clock ticked down and the match ended 5-1 to the hosts.
South Antrim Ladies 1sts 3-0 Ballymena Ladies 1sts (Forfeit)
We won by forfeit! Boo-yah!
South Antrim Ladies 2nds 0-1 Portadown Ladies 3rds
The 2XI squad turned out for their second league match of the season against Portadown Ladies 3XI on Saturday. They went into the match with confidence after only narrowly lost their first game following promotion to Junior 7. Portadown got off to a strong start, immediately putting the South defence under pressure. The South ladies stepped up to the mark and defended well with goal keeper Eve Foster-Brown making some excellent saves to keep her side in it. Shortly before the half time break, when the girls could regroup, Portadown broke through and unfortunately scored a well worked goal. Following the half time team talk, South banded together and as the half wore on, their superior fitness began to tell and they created a number of chances, with Lucy Fitzpatrick and Danielle Heasley making some fantastic runs through midfield into the circle, but unfortunately, they were unable to convert any of the opportunities into goals. The game ended 1-0 to the hosts. The ladies really worked hard to improve on areas of weakness from the week before and can only continue to build on this and learn to make a mark in Junior 7.