South Antrim 2 -2 Portadown (M.Getty, C.Henry)
It was a cold November afternoon when Portadown travelled to Lisburn in the Premier League. South Antrim looked to continue their unbeaten run of three league games knowing they were facing an opponent who they’ve exchanged wins throughout the last few seasons and that it would be a tough game. The home side had a turbulent start with a few stray passes leaving the defence under some pressure until Portadown won a short corner by finding a South foot in the circle in the first five minutes. The visitors converted the short corner when the initial shot was deflected into the net from close range. The Lisburn men steadied themselves and were able to get a foothold on the game creating pressure of their own and being rewarded with a short corner. Nathan Gamble was unable to convert the dragflick and the score remained one nil to Portadown. South continued to find gaps in the opposition’s defence but weren’t able to capitalise on the opportunities they manufactured. Shortly before the end of the first half, on form Adam Marshall slipped when closing a defender down outside the circle and clattered into the defender’s stick along with the ball. This resulted in a penalty corner for Portadown and a yellow card for the South defender allowing the visitors to score their second goal of the day. The score remained two in favour of Portadown until the end of the first half. The second half began with the pressure once again in South’s favour; within five minutes they found another hole in the defence but this time they were able to exploit the chance as Paul Maguire had the ball in the circle and slipped it across to Matthew Getty who snuck it in on the reverse past the Portadown keeper. South maintained control of the game for most of the second half with only a few chances falling to the visitors, who couldn’t take advantage of any of them. The home team were able to equalise when a ball was played from centre back out to Johnny Patterson at left back. Johnny slapped the ball 50 yards down the line with his first touch allowing Chris Henry to utilise his pace, collecting it and carrying it into the circle where he was able to rifle it into the back of the net. With around 10 minutes to go South Antrim continued to pressurise the visitors and create chances but were unable to find the winner as full time rolled around. While the Lisburn men were glad to have turned around a two goal deficit, they hope to improve throughout the season as they seek to cement their place in the Premier League. South Antrim travel down to Dublin to play Pembroke in the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday.
South Antrim 2nds 2-2 Lisnagarvey 3rds (C.Arnott, M.Conn)
South Antrim 2s made the short trip over to Lisnagarvey for their match against their 3s this weekend. South started the game slowly and invited pressure in the first few minutes before picking up the pace and taking the game to Garvey. After some great play in the midfield Neil Wilson slipped the ball through to Chris Arnott at the top of the circle who fired the ball into the bottom left giving South the lead. The second half started with South still holding the lead but Garvey then attacked well and won themselves a short corner which was well executed to make it 1-1. After some individual skill from Darren Hutchinson the ball was played through to Mark Conn who coolly slotted the ball past the helpless Garvey keeper to regain the lead. After some scrappy play in the middle the ball broke free for Garvey who hit quickly on the counter to make it 2-2 and grab themselves a point from a very tough game. Thanks goes to George Redpath for umpiring the match.
South Antrim 3rds 4-1 Kilkeel 3rds (C.McCandless x2, G.Glass, C.Black)
A McCandless double, the second a lovely volley on the turn, a George Glass stroke and a Chris Black finish keeps the win streak alive. Unfortunately they conceded a goal, but they still won, and sit very prettily atop Junior 4. Kilkeel started the scoring with an admittedly soft dragflick/push into the bottom corner. Callum McCandless scored the equaliser moment after, when he dived back post for an easy tap in. Soon after, George Glass put the home side in front after he converted a stroke after John Deane forced the keeper to smother a loose ball. In the second half, Callum McCandless scored his second as a ball deflected at waist height was slammed home on the turn. The two goal cushion allowed South to play with flair and Chris Black hit the crossbar with a reverse with the goal gaping, the crowd loved the effort though. Chris made up for the miss by completing the rout with a neat finish late on.
South Antrim 4ths 2-0 Ballymena 1sts (A.Glass Jnr, A,Hamilton Jnr)
He’s done it again! Junior scores again!! For the 8th game in a row, Junior scores. Showing his versatility in front of goal, he opted for a lobbed finish this week over the keeper into the far corner. Young Adam Glass scored with a direct hit from a short corner when the ball was slipped right to him from the top.
South Antrim 4ths knew they would be in for a tough match after playing out a 0-0 draw away at Ballymena in the cup at the start of the season. However, with a more settled team, playing good hockey, South had the confidence they needed going into the match knowing that they could go one better and take all three points on this occasion. In a tense affair the two evenly matched teams played out a goalless first half with both defences allowing only a few half chances to the opposition. After the break it was South Antrim’s turn to press Ballymena and got the opening goal of the match from a short corner, with Adam Glass hitting a crisp shot into the goalkeeper’s bottom right corner after the ball was shifted right from the top of the D. South struck again shortly after with Junior scoring, as usual, with a placed effort from the right side of the D into the helpless keeper’s far corner. Junior came close again shortly after when attempting an audacious lob that landed agonisingly on top of the net. After the two goals were scored, Ballymena really pushed on with intent but were thwarted by some fantastic defensive organisation by Jason Stead and some quality keeping in the circle by Andrew Wallace to keep the clean sheet intact and to secure a 2-0 victory for South Antrim.
South Antrim 5ths 1-4 NICS 3rds (A.Collins)
The Friday night fixture this week, a mere consolation goal from Archie as Service were 4 up at the time.Trevor will be happy as this is a great improvement on their last meeting, though this may or may not be due to Trevor umpiring. Can a captain be impartial?
South Antrim Ladies 2nds 3-2 Ards Ladies 5ths (E.Rennie x2, L.Fitzpatrick)
The run goes on for Nicole Bell’s girls as Erin Rennie bags 2 and Lucy Fitzpatrick scores the other. A slightly tighter game than the 2nds would have liked as Ards scored 2 short corners to keep in the game. This keeps the girls in second place in the league.
South Antrim Ladies 3rds 0-2 Portadown 3rds
The wait for a first win continues but a resolute performance against the league leaders is great progress. The Ladies match the leaders for long periods, just as the seconds had done, but the Portadown girls were more clinical in the circle and took their chances. Morgan Muir claims Player of the Match and Courtney Mills in nets also put in a great performance.