In a shortened programme of matches this week, Northend United Youth U16s were unlucky to lose a five-goal against Willowbank.
In the Lisburn league the U15s also tasted defeat by a one goal margin against Hillsborough Boys in a match where manager Johnny Sayers was bitterly disappointed at the outcome. The U13s enjoyed their win over Carrick Rangers in a match they dominated from start to finish and the U14s had a free week.
The younger teams from U10 to U12 also had a free week when the North West and Coleraine District League was cancelled late on Friday due to the condition of the Ballysally pitches.
Northend United 3, Carrick Rangers 0: ★John Devlin’s team have been steadily building throughout the season and this win shows just how far they have come.
Northend: O Connolly, M Rainey, R Dunlop, J Kirkpatrick, A Mooney, C Meeke, C Forsythe, R Gamble, R Mark, J Coates, M Stewart, C Metrustry, C McDonald, R Boomer.
Hillsborough 1, Northend United 0: Playing some of their best football of the season, they should really have taken the lead on four minutes when Kuba Babuszewski was straight through on the keeper but he scuffed his shot at the last moment.
In the second half and the match picked up where it left off in the first half, with play becoming bogged down in midfield. Hillsborough had their first chance to score after fifteen minutes but Josh Mark, in the Blues nets, was able to save the shot.
As the half wore on, Hillsborough came more into the game and Josh Mark was aagain called upon to make a good save from a fierce Hillsborough shot.
However just as the match was heading from a draw, Hillsborough scored their winner with eight minutes of the match remaining, when their striker scored when the Northend defence didn’t clear the ball.
Northend: J Mark, B Millar, D Dobbin (c), J Penny, B McGarvey, R Laverty, S Hutchinson, R Campbell, J Adams, A Campbell, K Babuszewski, M Kirk, G Macartney, E McLaughlin, J Wharry.
Northend United 2, Willowbank 3: Willowbank took the lead on fifteen minutes when a high ball into the Northend box was poorly dealt with by the Northend defence and the striker had time to plant the ball into the corner of the Blues net.
Northend began to get the upper hand in the game and Zack Herbison watched on as his inswinging corner was cleared off the Willowbank goal-line.
On twenty minutes, Willowbank doubled their lead when a longball found their striker in what looked like an offside position but he was allowed to run on and slip the ball into the Blues net.
Into the second half and following a half time reorganisation, Northend came more into the game.
Zack Herbison pulled a goal back for Northend after twelve minutes of the half when he scored a penalty following a handball in the penalty box.
Robbie Dennison and Ryan McKenna were soaking up whatever the Willowbank strikers could throw at them but they could do nothing for Willowbank’s third goal.
The Willowbank striker picked up the ball Northend again appealing in vain for offside and was allowed to run on and plant the ball into Northend’s net much to the displeasure of the Northend players and coaches.
Following a free-kick by Northend, Willowbank didn’t clear the ball properly and found Robbie Dennison hovering on the edge of the penalty box to smash the ball into the net.
It was all Northend and with time running out, two Zack Herbison expertly struck corners in the dying minutes of the half should have resulted in goals but the Blues attackers didn’t show enough determination to get the all important touch in a game they should never have lost.
Northend: J Galbraith, L McAllister, R Dennison, R McKenna (c), T Campbell, S Bennett, J Dawson, B Cairns, J Houston, Z Herbison, A Milligan, C Neilly, O Boyle, G Downey