The North West and Coleraine District League kicked off on Saturday and Northend U11s and U12s both turned in great performances on the opening day.
the U11s Youth team beating Ballymoney Athletic 10-2 and the U12s beating Coleraine Alexander 5-3.
Elsewhere the U11s United team lost by a narrow margin to Bertie Peacocks and the U10s lost to Portrush.
On Friday night the U8s United and Youth teams arranged a mini Tournament with Ballymena U8s, with all teams having a very enjoyable night and many great goals and celebrations on show.
In the Lisburn League, the U16s lost a very close game against Lisburn Rangers by a 3-2 scoreline, conceding the eventual winner with almost the last kick of the game. The U14s and U15s both lost their matches against Oxford Sunnyside and Lisburn Distillery respectively, with the U14s dropping their first points of the season.★
Portrush 8, Northend United 3: Northend started their league campaign against a Portrush side who they had many close contests with last season full of hope and expectation. In the early stages some poor defensive play and weak clearances gifted Portrush 3 quick goals leaving keeper PJ McDonnell no chance and Portrush added a fourth before the interval.
Early in the second half Portrush broke through the Northend defence only for Tyler Boyd to put in an excellent block but the loose ball fell to a Portrush midfielder on the edge of box who fired his shot into the top corner of the net leaving McDonnell no chance.
In the seventh minute O’Neill went on a dazzling run down the left wing and crossed the ball into McKeown who finished first time into the bottom corner.
Portrush hit 3 more goals before a final 10 minute spell where Northend controlled the game.
Firstly McGarry hit the back of the net after a goal mouth scramble and O’Neill hit a deflected shot which flew past the Portrush keeper.
The match was harsh on the Northend players and was a reminder that any defensive mistakes can be costly. MOM - Jay McKeown
Northend: PJ McDonnell, S Bristow, B O’Neill, J McKeown, C McAvoy, Z Erwin, T Boyd, R Campbell, C McGarry.
Bertie Peacock’s 3, Northend United 1: With an excellent performance in the Foyle Cup and an unbeaten run in pre-season friendlies the Ballymena boys rightly entered this fixture with a lot of confidence.
On the sixteen minute mark the Northend boys defended a corner well but were slow to clear their lines and paid a heavy price for their first mistake of the game.
Jack Adams and Peter Bristow were starting to dominate the midfield area and it was against the run of play that Bertie’s extended their lead with a second goal with twenty minutes gone.
As the pressure steadily built upon the Bertie’s defence it was a cruel twist of fate when they broke up field and saw an intended cross float into Northend’s goal seconds before the break. Half-time 3-0.
Northend started the second half with real determination and pulled a goal back within three minutes. Callum McMillan battled hard in attack and rolled a pass to Rio Tsang, who finished the move off well with low shot across goal and into the bottom corner of Bertie’s goal but despite producing some really good football, they couldn’t add to their score. MOM - David Magill
Northend: C Wilson, D Magill, K Cosgrove, C McMillan, P Bristow, J Adams, O Campbell, L Hector, R Tsang and C McMurray.
Ballymoney Athletic 2, Northend Youth 10: This game started off with all one way traffic towards the Ballymoney goal and in the 9th minute Caolan Lennon made the most of the attack from the strong midfield to unleash a right foot shot high into the top corner of the net.
Northend then scored 2 goals in quick succession with Jack Connor and Cal O’Brien the goalscorers. Just on half time Ballymoney put the ball straight through the middle to connect with their centre forward to secure their first goal.
Within minutes of the second half Caolan Lennon laid on the ball for Cal O’Brien to get his second. Northend then added to the scoreline again with a great run from Niall Devine whose pass was picked up by Ciaran Martin and laid on to Cal O’Brien for his hat-trick.
Midway through the second half a clever 1-2 with Ciaran Martin saw Niall Devine’s efforts on target rewarded with a super goal before Ballymoney grabbed a second goal.
The last ten minutes saw Northend reap the rewards of a consistently tight defence and skilful passing - Caolan Lennon put away his second goal, followed by Cal O’Brien’s forth goal. Not to be left off the scoresheet two great runs by Ciaran Martin ended with the ball in the back of the net.
Northend: C Mellon; D Killough; J Connor; S Byrne; B Harkin; N Devine; C Martin; C O’Brien; C Lennon, C McKillop.
Northend United 5, Coleraine Alexandra 3: Northend got off to a flyer with Jamie Montgomery scoring in the first minute.
The same player made it 2-0 after three minutes and then Pat Ferris scored on nine minutes making it 3-0 before Coleraine pulled a goal back.
On fifteen minutes Harry Wylie made it 4-1 from a cracking free kick from outside the box striking it high into the corner.
The second began with Coleraine showing more intent, mainly from a few mistakes by Northend not clearing the ball or missed challenges. However at 4-2 Northend were only the team that looked like winning.
With 8 minutes of the second half gone Jamie Morrow pounced to make it 5-2 by nipping in to poke a loose ball into the net. Coleraine pulled another goal back late on making it 5-3.
Northend: C Mellon, R Tsang, J Morrow, P Esler, H Wylie, C Kilgore (c), J Montgomery, R McKillop, P Ferris, C Russell, B Logan.
Northend 5, Ballymoney United 1: In a hastily-arranged friendly match on Friday night, Northend beat their neighbours thanks to goals from Luke Herbison (2), Conor McDonald, Pat Ferris and Ryan Boomer.
Northend: O Connolly, J Givens, C Meeke, C McDonald, J Kirkpatrick, R Gamble, J Coates, C Forsythe, M, Stewart, C Metrustry, C Killough, M Rainey, P Ferris, L Herbison, R Boomer.
Northend 1, Oxford Sunnyside 6: This was Northend’s chance to put down a marker to their competition in this league, but sadly they didn’t show up for this match.
Northend went 3 - 0 down within fifteen minutes in this match, and never really recovered. Oxford Sunnyside were deadly in front of goal in a frantic first half.
The most disappointing thing for the coaches was that all players, with the exception of Ryan Lorimer and especially Robert Iovu, did not put in the effort and desire required to win a game of football. MOM - R Iovu.
Northend: C Brennan, T McAuley, M Willighan, J Brady, R McCluney, R Iovu (c), T Patchett, C McGarry, R Campbell, S Frew, R Lorimer, C Gordon, N Craig, C Fullerton.
Lisburn Rangers 3, Northend 2: Lisburn took the lead on five minutes when a ball through the Northend defence allowed their striker to run on and chip the ball past keeper Lewis McFall.
Northend dominated the remainder of the first half and with seven minutes remaining, a Jamie Houston pass found Cairns on the wing, and following his cross, Zack Herbison was on hand to drill the ball past the Lisburn kepper to level the score at 1-1.
Northend’s dominance continued after the break and they went ahead with 15 minutes remaining when the livewire Jamie Houston planted the ball past the Lisburn keeper.
With a win looking increasingly likely, the Blues conceded a free-kick just inside their half with ten minutes left. The Lisburn striker planted the ball in on top of keeper McFall and into the top corner of the net to pull them level.
Worse was to follow when in the final two minutes as the Blues conceded a corner and Lisburn went on to get their winner, when the ball wasn’t properly cleared.
Northend: L McFall, J Galbraith, L McAllister, R McKenna, R Dennison, C Graham, J Houston, T Campbell, S Bennett, B Cairns, Z Herbison, J Savage, C Neilly, M Waide, A Milligan, M Mucka
FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
Northend United’s Football Development Centre continues on Monday night at Ballymena Showgrounds pitch 3. The Centre is open to all boys and girls aged 4 to 10 inclusive who are unconnected with any other Club and takes place each Monday night from 6.00pm to 7.30pm.
For more information, or to reserve your child a place on the course, please call John Devlin on 07919056834. Application forms can also be printed off the Northend website www.northendunitedyouthfc.co.uk
GOLF FUNDRAISING DAY
With 2 weeks to go until Northend’s Annual Golf Fundraising Day on Sunday 5th October, plans are well advanced for the big day at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
Tournament organisers, Rodney and Phil aim to build upon the huge success from last year’s tournament when a number of Sporting Celebrities turned out to support the Northend cause. The organisers have already received many 4-ball entries for this year’s event. With slots filling up fast, participants are asked to get in contact with Rodney (0774 2075529) as soon as possible to reserve a slot for another great day’s golf.