South Antrim 0-8 Instonians
It was always going to be a hard game, Instonians are the Ulster Premier League’s leader, winning every game so far, and South were missing half their defensive line. Inst started on the front foot and took full advantage of the makeshift back line’s uncertainty to win a short corner ten minutes in. It was duly converted by a drag flick into the bottom left corner. Still reeling from the early goal, South were disorganised and Inst again took full advantage, winning another corner, again dispatched in the same manner. A good period of South possession followed as they eased themselves into the game but no notable attacks became of it. Inst countered and Adam Marshall did well to get back at block the shot only for the ball to ricochet into his feet. Instonians again made no mistake from the resulting set piece, scoring from a neat deflection at the back post. At the close of the half, Inst won their fourth short, this time Mark Gray was on hand to deflect to clear the ball off the line. The well drilled Belfast side were relentless and soon won a fifth short, scoring with a powerful drag high down the middle.
The second half started better for the South side, with better communication in the defensive line, that gave the Inst forwards little space and restricted their chances. Inst’s fifth goal came from yet another short as another drag flick found the net. South again grew into the game with Chris Henry gaining yards and finding space in the circle to get a shot away, unfortunately flying wide. Inst again countered after a South foray with one long pass that bypassed South’s midfield and found an opposition forward, Ward Phillips blocked their first shot well but the ball fell kindly to same forward, who slipped a reverse in at the near post with the keeper still wrong footed from the first attempt. South were struggling to get the ball out of the back with Inst’s press. A turnover in midfield left the defence exposed again and a forward rolled a defender and flicked high across goal into the top corner. Everything was going right for Inst and badly for South, as Inst finished the scoring with a goal typifying the dire afternoon South were having. Mark Gray tackled a forward only for the ball to fall right into the path of another forward who mishit their shot but it still found the net bouncing off the post.
An underpar South side were well beaten by an in form Instonians team. The young Lisburn side will have to chalk this game off as a bad day and regroup before facing bottom of the table Mossley next weekend.
South Antrim 2nds 2-0 Cork Harlequins 2nds (D.Hutchinson, N.Wilson)
South Antrim 2nds faced Cork Harlequins 2nds in the Irish Junior Cup on a cold, wet and windy day at Friends’ School. From the start, South carried out their game plan well with good pressing and quick attacks. For most of the first half South dominated the game, winning plenty of short corners but being unable to convert their chances. One such corner was scored by Neil Wilson, but disallowed upon referral with the second umpire on the grounds the shot was too high. Neil Wilson, shortly after, had a clear shot on goal on the reverse but snatched at it and it flew out of the grounds over the crossbar. Cork didn’t offer much in attack but as the half rolled on and the score still at 0-0, they grew in confidence winning two late short corners from good counter attacking play but were unable able to capitalize due to the rock solid defence lead by Ian Glass.
After a slight re-shuffle of the forward line at half time, South finally got the goal they were looking for early on in the 2nd half. A great run from Neil Wilson down the base line eventually cutting the ball back to Darren Hutchinson who took his chance well and taking South to a much deserved lead in the game. The second goal came ten minutes later from a good counter attack from South down the left that eventually made its way to Neil Wilson who crossed the ball with a reverse only to be turned into the net by a Cork defender at full stretch. The game finished 2-0 with another great team performance from South Antrim who move onto the quarter finals and also continue to keep up a 100 percent unbeaten record this season at Prospect Hill.
South Antrim 4ths 2-2 Down 1sts (A.Collins, G.McGill)
South Antrim started well in the match against the league’s leaders Down but with all their play created only a few half chances. The former Senior 2 club used all their experience to expose the South defence and take advantage of short corners to go a goal up with a straight hit. A second goal followed straight after when a crashed ball in was deflected into the net at the near post, leaving South trailing at the break. At the start of the first half, South’s afternoon went from bad to worse after being reduced to 10 men for the remainder of the game after a small tussle. However, instead of letting this put the result out of their reach, a reinvigorated South team rallied and got a goal back with Gavin McGill sticking his first goal for the club into the net in a somewhat scrappy manner, but every goal counts. South continued to press for an equaliser and eventually it did come with Archie Collins flicking the ball up over the keeper after his initial shot had been saved. South almost got a winner with Alan Hamilton Junior and Alan Smith coming close but South can be more than happy to grab a point from the match against a strong side.
South Antrim Ladies 2nds 1-0 Owls 2nds (E.Rennie)
The Ladies second progress to the Quarter Finals in Feburary thanks to a solitary goal, from Erin Rennie. Mogran Muir was the provider with a teasing cross, Erin Rennie made beating the keeper look easy with an cool, composed finish worthy of settling any cup tie. You could even say the girls had a ‘hoot’ winning against Owls 2nds.