South Antrim 2 – 9 Kilkeel (J.Brown, M.Getty)
In their last premier league game this calendar year, South made the journey to the Mournes to play second-placed Kilkeel. South knew they had to be at their best to get anything out of the game but what followed was a mediocre display by the 1sts, with Kilkeel scoring at will.
It began so well for South, putting Kilkeel under early sustained pressure but that was not to last. Quick, precise passing moves in the first five minutes gave way to slow, scattered movement and possession. The next sixty-five minutes were nearly a nightmare for South.By the end of the first half South were already four goals down with no hope of return. The first two goals were easy tap-ins for the Kilkeel forward line with South being far too loose on marking and tackling. Kilkeel continually broke through in numbers after misplaced or intercepted passes, with Ian Glass in goal left with no chance for any of the goals. The third and fourth goals quickly followed with the third summing up the afternoon as good block from Chris Redpath saw the ball deflect over the keeper, hitting the crossbar and falling perfectly for a Kilkeel forward to tap in. Adam Marshall served some time on the sidelines for dissent during the half after a questionable decision that lead to the fourth goal.
Stern words were used at half-time to try and jolt the players into action. However, the renewed vigour didn’t last long as Kilkeel were quicker to every ball and continued to receive the ball in space while South were lackluster and sloppy in possession. Subsequently, the goals followed. Of the five goals scored in the half, four were a mixture of turnovers in South’s half or a repeat of the first half, giving South’s defence the unkind situation of facing an overload situation every time Kilkeel came the counter. The other goal in the half from Kilkeel was a tidy finish by the Kilkeel forward as he rounded Ian Glass in South’s goal and neatly reversed into the bottom corner. South, however, did get a few of their own as a result of a great finish by James Brown and a well taken reverse hit from Matthew Getty in South’s only decent passage of play.
South need to cut out the individual errors and up the work rate if they are to have a respectable finish in their debut season in the Premier League. The men hope to regroup over the Christmas holiday and will strive to put in a much improved performance against Belfast Harlequins in the new year.
South Antrim 2nds 1-7 Newry 2nds (C.Arnott)
South Antrim’s 2nd visit to Newry this season and the final league game before Christmas was a difficult task, with a much depleted South side facing a Newry 2nd XI benefiting from a few ringers from their 1sts, who played prior. South found themselves in a battle from the outset of the first half, which saw a number of physical tackles being played out by the Newry side. This approach was largely ignored by the umpires, and it took an injury to a South player get things settled. In the early stages, South continued to play the fast moving hockey, which has earned them a good position in Junior 1, with Mark Conn leading by example in central midfield with his superb pace. Some fine play by Chris Mark, Andy Farrell and Jack Moore at the back led to the ball being confidently played from the back into the midfield in the early stages. A number of short corners in favor of South resulted from this play, but no goals resulted. The difference between the two sides was to be decided on who could convert the chances and South were found wanting. Newry were able to break the deadlock with a goal coming from a breakdown in play. It was to be Newry’s day and South’s defence found themselves under continuous pressure after the first goal, with the afore mentioned physical tackling disrupting South’s play. In the second half there was to be no let up and despite South’s efforts Newry were able to dictate the play. A penalty stroke was conceded by Newry, which was missed by Mark Conn. The hopes of a comeback had taken a knock and it was not to be South’s day. Newry went on to score seven goals in total to secure a pre-Christmas victory. Chris Arnott was able to claw one gaol back for South. The 7-1 final score being a harsh lesson to the Junior 1 newcomers.
South Antrim 3rds 4-1 Campbellians 2nds (G.Glass, S.Glenn, J.Deane, N.Allister)
South Antrim 3rds entertained Campbellians 2nds on the last weekend of hockey this year, and won 4-1. In a scrappy first half with neither side having sustained possession, George Glass scored for South, with an awkward improvised overhead volley from a deflected John Deane cross. Stuart Glenn scored a back post tap in on his 3s debut after a late call up. Midfielder John deane then put South 3-0 up with a free shot from edge of the circle. Stuart Glenn, filled with confidence, the tried to beat an opponent in his own 25 and lost he ball, giving Campbellians the opportunity to score their first and stage a comeback. Nathan Allstar put the game beyond doubt midway through the second half, as he pinged a reverse in off the far post to make sure South got 3 points and record their 7th win in a row in the league.
South Antrim 4ths 2-2 South Antrim 5ths (A.Glass Jnr, J.Taylor) (I.McElhinney x2)
It was all South affair in Junior 5 as the 4ths took on the 5ths. In a game played in good spirits, a 2-2 draw was played out that ensured everyone was happy going into Christmas. Adam Glass stasrted the scoring as he netted for the 4ths after a scramble on the goal line.A superb performance from the returning Chris Moulden in nets saved the 5ths on numerous occasions. The 5ths, keen for an upset, scored a short corner by way of a deflected Ian McElhinney strike. In the second half, the 5ths got the goal to set up a tense finish, a second McElhinney corner strike. Through great defending and outstanding keeping, the 5ths nearly kept their ‘superior’ clubmen at bay, but fell at the last when Jonny Taylor scored a solo effort, worthy of tying any game, a syntilating run, dribbling past several players, including Moulden in nets before tapping in to equalize with just three minutes remaining.