Northend United under-14 manager Brian O’Hara hailed his side’s “outstanding performance” as they secured a fantastic NIBFA Cup win.
The Ballymena boys won 2-1 at Portavogie in the pick of theBlues’ weekend games.
Due to the school transfer tests, Northend with no goal keeper, key players missing and no subs still fielded a pretty strong team, but lacked their usual effort and commitment.
On a day when nothing went their way, Northend also had a penalty saved in the last minute.
Northend: B Adams, R Campbell, J Magill, C McAvoy, K Wakefield, B O’Neill, S O’Broin, B Bell, J McKeown.
Northend Youth 1, Coleraine Olympic 3: It wasn’t too long before Coleraine opened the scoring with along through ball which caught out the Northend defence by surprise. Another long ball caught out the defence again to give Coleraine a two goal lead.
The second half started with Northend pressing and when Ciaran Martin was upended in the box a penalty was rewarded Ciaran stepped up but unfortunately his shot went wide.
After the penalty Northend kept pressing and were rewarded with a goal after a goalmouth scramble in which Cal O’Brien finished.
Northend kept the pressure up and were awarded another penalty. Caolan Lennon stepped up but unfortunately the Olympic keeper made a superb save. Then with the last kick off the game Coleraine scored their third goal. Final score 1-3
Northend: D Killough, C Lennon, C Martin, N Devine, S Crawford, C O’Brien, B Harkin, K Dziadkowiec; C Mellon
Northend United 3, Blackstaff 3: Northend looked to be in line for victory as goals from Pat Ferris and Harry Wylie gave them a 2-0 half-time lead.
Blackstaff countered with two quick goals at the start of the second half, only for Ferris to again nudge Northend in front.
It looked as though the Ballymena boys would hold on until Blackstaff were awarded a disputed late penalty which resulted in a share of the spoils.
Northend: J Morrow, R McQuillan, R McKillop, H Wylie (c), C Campbell, C Higgins, C Richmond, P Esler, P Ferris, A Campbell, C McGaughey and J Casey.
Portavogie Rangers 1, Northend United 2: The Blues were short on numbers with just 11 players but there was no shortage of skill and commitment as both teams battled arctic conditions.
The deadlock was broken in the 18th minute as Zack Clarke took a wonderful touch and floated his shot into the top left corner.
After the break, the Ballymena boys continued to press and produced some very slick passing moves.
Their dominance forced several corners which finally produced another goal as Captain Conor McDonald found space at the back post to smash in a second goal in the 45th minute.
Tired legs were evident and Portavogie took advantage of the situation as they then took control of the game and slotted home a penalty to make a very nervous final 8 minutes for the Blues but the Ballymena boys held on, including surviving a couple of goalmouth scrambles in the closing minutes.
Northend: J McCalmont, M Stewart, C Forsythe, R Dunlop, J Kirkwood, R McMullan, C Meeke, Z Clarke, D Robinson, C McDonald, C Young